KUALA LUMPUR, 26 July 2023:
The latest Ookla Speedtest Intelligence report for the first half of 2023 (1H2023) showed that Malaysia and South Korea led the world’s 5G services pack with speeds of over 500 Mbps – with Malaysia reporting a median download performance of 512.10 Mbps, and South Korea at 503.99 Mbps.
Industry analyst Affandy Johan noted this was an impressive accomplishment for Malaysia, which launched 5G 3.5 years after South Korea and has caught up to them in performance.
During the same period, Singapore, India, New Zealand, China, and Australia achieved a median 5G download speed exceeding 200 Mbps. In comparison, only France recorded speeds above 200 Mbps among the European countries mentioned, while Italy, Germany, UK and Spain, recorded median download speeds below 150 Mbps.
Zooming in, he said data trends showed Seoul and Kuala Lumpur are the top cities for 5G performance, boasting median download speeds of 533.95 Mbps and 523.44 Mbps, respectively.
Many of the more advanced markets in the Asia Pacific have been the frontrunners in terms of 5G rollout. South Korea was the first market in the world to deploy a nationwide 5G network in April 2019, followed by Australia, the Philippines, China, and New Zealand later that year.
As predicted by (GSM Association) GSMA Intelligence, the recent second wave of 5G rollouts in the region in countries such as Indonesia, India, and Malaysia will see Asia Pacific becoming one of the largest 5G markets in the world by 2025.
“While Europe and the Asia Pacific markets share similarities such as large cultural diversity, customers with varying demographics, and mixed regulations and policies, our recent analysis of European 5G performance revealed that early 5G adopters in the Asia Pacific region performed better than some major European markets.”
He said analysis based on data from Speedtest Intelligence shows that Hong Kong stands out as the only country analyzed to have surpassed 40% 5G Availability, reaching 42.3% in H1 2023. Part of the reason is the city’s high population density, 5G coverage that reaches over 90% of the population, and a high 5G smartphone penetration rate, which Counterpoint Research reported as 78% in Q1 of 2023.
Despite Australia being 78 times larger than South Korea, and being one of the least densely populated countries, both countries reported similar 5G Availability rates, at around 36.6%. Counterpoint Research reported a 5G smartphone penetration rate of more than 80% for both countries, with South Korea at 88% and Australia at 82%.
Across the European markets, France, Spain, Germany, and the U.K. ranged between 20%-30%. Similarly, Thailand also falls within this range at 26.8%.
Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), Malaysia’s designated 5G wholesale provider, reported 90% 5G coverage of populated areas (COPA) throughout Kuala Lumpur at the end of 2022.
Despite being one of the latest markets to launch 5G, the Indian cities of Delhi and Mumbai performed well in the cities’ speeds ranking. Both cities reported median download speeds of over 300 Mbps in H1 2023, with Delhi at 357.43 Mbps and Mumbai at 319.45 Mbps.
While Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, and Delhi have shown 5G performance comparable to or even exceeding those of well-established 5G markets in the region, their 5G networks are still relatively new. As a result, these cities have lower 5G Availability than others as anticipated.
Metro Manila, with one-third of the population of the Philippines, had the lowest median download speed among all the cities in this report for H1 2023, with a speed of 135.51 Mbps. During the same period, Metro Manila reported a 5G availability rate of 35.7%, slightly lower than Seoul (35.9%) and Sydney (39.2%).