During the Dewan Rakyat session this morning, the Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa said that the mobile network’s speed in Malaysia has increased from 25Mbps to 31.34Mbps.
This is a rather interesting remark because if that is really the case, then we are very close to achieving Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) Phase 1’s target of having 35Mbps mobile broadband speed by the end of 2022. But once we dig a little bit further, the remark made by the minister may not represent the actual picture.
Before we go further though, let’s put some context into the figures that Minister Annuar mentioned at the Dewan Rakyat today which came from the fourth JENDELA Quarterly Report that was released back in September.
Originating from the Speedtest Global Index, the baseline 25Mbps figure was recorded in August 2020 while 31.34Mbps came in September 2021. However, the company behind Speedtest, Ookla has recently noted that these numbers represent the mean performance speeds which may not provide an accurate picture of the speed that a user would likely experience in real life.
Hence, Ookla has decided to use the median figures moving forward. The company has since revealed that the median mobile download speed for Malaysia in September 2021 is just 21.27Mbps which is significantly lower than the original mean figure.
In his defence though, it is possible that Minister Annuar or his officers may not be aware of Ookla’s new policy prior to his Dewan Rakyat’s session today as it was only announced by the company on 15 November. Despite all these, it is still true that the mobile download speed in Malaysia has shown some improvements over the past year.
We took the liberty to compile Ookla’s data into the table below and have noticed a year-to-year improvement of 6.79Mbps when it comes to the download speed:
Nevertheless, the massive differences between the median and mean values of the Speedtest Global Index data for Malaysia made us believe that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) should look back at the JENDELA report and take appropriate action. This is because Ookla will completely phase out the usage of the mean data on 15 February 2022.
If MCMC decides to retain its 35Mbps target for JENDELA Phase 1, then we are definitely still far behind according to Ookla’s median data. While the government still has a year left to hit the objective, it must make sure that it is referring to the correct data.
(Source: Parlimen Malaysia / YouTube.)