KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — The current Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of lockdowns have increased data usage as most people are required to work or learn from home. According to Opensignal’s latest report, Malaysia has come up on top for having the highest growth in mobile data consumption year-on-year from 2020 to 2021.
Using January 2020 as the baseline, average consumption in Malaysia has increased to 14.6 per cent in March and 30.7 per cent in April 2020. As a comparison, other Asean countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia had reported 14-20 per cent growth in the same period versus January 2020.
Interestingly, mobile data consumption in Singapore had dropped by approximately 22 per cent. This tells us most Singaporeans would probably rely on their fixed broadband service instead of their mobile data during their lockdown period.
According to Opensignal, Malaysia’s data consumption has maintained its momentum by showing 15 per cent-30 per cent increase per month which is higher than Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand across all months. While the jump between Jan 2019 to Jan 2020 is lower at 16.3 per cent, the Year-on-Year (YoY) increase from Jan 2020 to Jan 2021 is significantly higher at 35.2 per cent. Indonesia follows closely with 23.3 per cent YoY for the same period, followed by Cambodia at 16.9 per cent and Thailand at 15.2 per cent.
In actual numbers, Malaysia’s average data consumption recorded was 19.5GB in January 2020 and it increased to 26.4GB in January 2021. Opensignal had previously released a report which indicated that the top telcos in Malaysia were struggling to keep up with demand during the MCO.
To assist Malaysians with their connectivity needs, most telcos had offered free 1GB of data daily for productivity use. This initiative has been extended until 31st July 2021. To boost existing mobile coverage, the government has kicked off its Jendela program which focuses on improving existing 4G coverage through fiberisation and upgrade of existing sites.
To free up valuable spectrum for 4G use, the government also targets to shutdown 3G by the end of this year. The local telcos are currently running programs to convert 3G phone users to newer 4G devices.