Minister: Covid-19 showed us how 3G, 4G still underutilised

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks at a press conference at his ministry in Putrajaya June 17, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks at a press conference at his ministry in Putrajaya June 17, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, June 17 — Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah today said that the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia had exposed how underutilised the 3G and 4G technology was.

In a special press conference to mark the 100 days achievements of his ministry, Saifuddin said that the government however, is still focused on its plan to roll out the planned 5G technology.

“I think our policy on 5G remains mostly the same, but what we need to do now is step back and prepare properly.

“This is what Covid-19 taught us. That we have not fully utilised our 3G and our 4G. I’m not saying only after we have fully utilised (3G and 4G) only then we will roll out 5G.

“What I’m trying to say is, if you ask me today, what is our first priority, it’s connectivity in rural areas- and they don’t need 5G. But are we going to hold on, too late for 5G? We can’t do that too because all the players, 5G or not, people have to prepare, this involves investment. We have to speed up our process,” he said.

According to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), 5G implementation will provide a significant impact on the nation’s economy, technology website SoyaCincau.com reported.

It is estimated that it would contribute up to RM12.7 billion to the GDP between 2021 and 2025. It also has the potential to create more than 39,000 new jobs with higher income, and almost 40 per cent of these jobs are expected to be available in 2025.

In the Budget 2020 announcement under the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, RM50 million in grant for 5G ecosystem development was allocated.

This will be used to stimulate adoption of 5G use cases across various industries including automotive, manufacturing, public safety, education, agriculture, tourism, entertainment and media.

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