Ericsson and Digital Nasional Berhad recently achieved a world record distance for Gigabit speeds over Malaysia’s 5G network that will pave the way for high-quality, affordable and high-speed connectivity.
The test, conducted over the 28GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) frequency, achieved a peak throughput of 1Gbps at a record distance of 11.18km from a radio antenna in Butterworth, Penang to a point off the island.
The new distance record is a showcase of the ability of mmWave with the support of Ericsson’s extended-range software to quickly deliver cost-effective, high quality Internet connectivity solutions via Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) in areas where wired connections are not always economically feasible.
This paves the way for local mobile network operators (MNOs) to provide better and wider connectivity to reach more consumers and enterprises as it will allow for the delivery of high quality, wireless broadband connectivity that is cost effective using Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) solutions within the existing 5G coverage area.
In regions with unserved or underserved broadband markets, FWA has tremendous potential to close the digital divide in rural locations, complementing the digital transformation in Malaysia which is already beginning to benefit from the reach, speed of rollout, and enhanced consumer experience that the 5G network is bringing.
Head of Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, David Hägerbro says:
“Achieving this milestone by leveraging Ericsson’s 5G Fixed Wireless Access technology is a strong example of the world class 5G network that Ericsson is providing in Malaysia. This achievement will allow Ericsson to work with DNB to quickly provide connectivity for schools, hospitals, small and medium businesses, and areas that can benefit from connectivity in a cost-efficient manner and bring connectivity to historically underserved locations.”
The mmWave frequency – while capable of delivering extremely fast speeds, high bandwidth and low latency – has seen limited use due to its inability to cover extended distances compared to the mid-band spectrum (3.5GHz in Malaysia).
However, thanks to Ericsson’s extended-range software innovation, the mmWave can now be used to support FWA products over longer distance as demonstrated in Penang.
This highlights Ericsson’s 5G technology expertise in overcoming the challenges of distance to deliver fiber-like speeds via FWA to areas beyond cities, thereby paving the way for wider connectivity and accelerating Malaysia’s digitalization.
FWA is seen to be a cost-effective alternative to fixed broadband especially in rural and sub-urban areas where deployment of fiber is either cost prohibitive, time-consuming or faced with terrain challenges.
This is further validated by the latest Ericsson Mobility Report which projects that there will be more than 100 million FWA connections by the end of 2022 and this number is projected to triple by 2028, reaching over 300 million. Of these over 300 million connections, the number of 5G FWA connections is expected to grow to around 235 million by 2028, representing almost 80 percent of the total FWA connections.
In the same report, more than three-quarters of Mobile Network Operators surveyed in more than 100 countries currently offer FWA services. Almost one-third of them are offering FWA over 5G, compared to one-fifth a year ago while almost 40 percent of the new 5G FWA launches in the past 12 months have been in emerging markets. This will create significant opportunities for the Malaysian MNOs to expand their service offerings to their consumers