Last Updated: 13 March 2014
You may have heard of 3G communication technology and how it revolutionized the way we use the Internet via mobile devices.
Now comes the 4G LTE (4th Generation Long-Term Evolution) technology that provides super-fast broadband internet access for mobile devices.
4G specifications were first outlined by the ITU-R (International Telecommunications Union-Radio communications sector) in March of 2008 and this set of specifications were named as IMT-Advanced (International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced) specification. The maximum speed provided by 4G services is set at 100 megabits per second and the LTE standard helps 4G services achieve such speeds and this is why this technology is often marketed as 4G LTE.
4G LTE in Malaysia
The first LTE service was launched on 14th December, 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden, and Oslo, Norway, by TeliaSonera. Now Malaysians will be able to enjoy the benefits of 4G LTE as the MCMC (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission) has announced that it will be adopting this uber-fast wireless communication platform. After this announcement was made on 5th December, 2012, some Malaysians are clamoring to get 4G LTE enabled devices but are these devices actually faster than 3G enabled devices?
4G LTE is a 2,600MHZ range wireless platforms and this means that Malaysian service providers in theory will be able to provide mobile broadband speeds of 100Mbps to users. This means that you can download an entire movie in around five minutes using your smartphone! Now compare this with the 700kbps broadband speed offered by 3G services nowadays and the interest in 4G LTE is completely justified.
Some Malaysian telecom service providers have already been touting their 4G services for a while now but they are not truly 4G plans. The maximum speed offered by 4G plans from companies like YES and P1 does not go over 7.2Mbps, which is nowhere close to the speeds that Malaysians can expect from 4G LTE.
Who will offer 4G LTE in Malaysia?
Eight Malaysian telecom companies will be offering 4G LTE packs in Malaysia. They are DiGi, Maxis, Packet One Networks, U Mobile, Celcom Axiata Bhd, REDTone Marketing, Puncak Semangat, and YTL Communications. However, currently only tree telecom companies are offering 4G LTE: Maxis and Celcom.
Maxis 4G LTE
Maxis has offers 4G LTE plans for its mobile users in Malaysia. To get access to Maxis’ 4G LTE service, they state you must meet the following conditions, :
- “Purchase an LTE enabled device (if you don’t already own one)
- Subscribe to a mobile internet plan of 1GB & above OR sign up to a rate plan with bundled data more than 1GB
- You must be on either a nano-sim or micro-sim.”
The one drawback with these Maxis plans is that full coverage is limited to a few areas including Bandar Sunway, Desa Sri Hartamas, Cyberjaya, Bandar Puchong Jaya, Damansara Utama and TTDI. Partial coverage locations are SS2, Taman Wawasan Puchong, Taman Paramount, Section 17 and 19 PJ, Bandar Kinrara and Plaza Damansara. The limited coverage means that even though you have 4G LTE packs enabled for your smartphone, you will not be able to use your phone to surf the Internet everywhere on 4G LTE. Typically, it will revert to 3G.
Maxis’ 4G LTE offers speeds up to 75 Mbps. However, the average speeds for Maxis 4G LTE is between 10 Mbps to 30 Mbps.
Celcom 4G LTE
Celcom just released their 4G LTE in Malaysia on 23 April 2013. You can read our short news item about the Celcom 4G LTE launch in Malaysia here.
DiGi launched its 4G LTE service in July 2013 for its broadband plans and tablet plans. In March 2014, DiGi expanded its 4G LTE service to smartphones.
U Mobile launched its 4G LTE service in December 2013. It is offering the 4G LTE service as postpaid, prepaid, and broadband plans.
Pros and Cons of 4G LTE
The pros obviously include the speed that 4G LTE offers and the fact that entire movies, music albums and other files with sizes in gigabytes can be downloaded in minutes. If Maxis and other telecom companies in Malaysia can provide maximum speeds promised by 4G LTE, then you can get mobile broadband speed that is 10 times faster than 3G. With 4G LTE packs, video conferencing will be a breeze on mobile devices as video conferencing is currently possible only over Wi-Fi networks. Another advantage that will appeal to Malaysians is that 4G packs will allow smartphone users to play multi-player games with response times comparable to that of gaming consoles.
On the other hand, 4G technologies is still out of reach for most people, as 4G packs are quite expensive and so far only two companies, Maxis and Celcom, are currently offering it in Malaysia. Also, coverage is very limited and this could hamper the progress of 4G LTE technology in Malaysia. Also, most smartphone users will have to get newer models of smartphones that are compatible with 4G. For example, the iPhone 4S and earlier models are not compatible with 4G LTE.
Have you used 4G LTE in Malaysia? Please share your thoughts by posting a comment below.
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