4G coverage in Sabah's populated areas has now reached 86.9 per cent, Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said.
He said the achievement was the result of concerted efforts in strengthening broadband service infrastructure, especially through the National Digital Network Plan (JENDELA) in Sabah.
"We agreed for state MCMCs (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission) to discuss with state governments whether their populated areas were really included in our mapping (efforts).
"Sabah for instance has achieved 86.9 percent coverage in its populated areas, but achieving (4G network coverage) and quality are different things. Achieving (coverage) means that the area has connectivity.
"But we know when it comes to broadband network, reach (network coverage) is not static and dynamic. When people return to their hometowns and there are many users (internet) speed will be affected," he told a media conference here today.
Annuar earlier chaired a Communications and Creative Industry Digital Economy Council (MEDIKK) meeting, which was also attended by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam and Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek.
Annuar said although he was satisfied with the progress of JENDELA, he wants all of its planned development projects such as new towers and upgrade of existing towers to be expedited.
The ministry was also looking into several new technologies to ensure Internet network services reached all areas, including the interiors, in line with the goal of ensuring that the nationwide 4G network coverage reached 96.9 per cent by the end of this year.
He said almost 99 percent of 3G networks have been shut down and about 86 to 87 percent of users are already on 4G networks so far.
In a related development, Annuar instructed the MCMC to monitor and address the issue of illegal telecommunication towers, saying that he had also received some information on the matter in Johor and several other states.
"Illegal towers are not allowed. I hope MCMC can look into this as this can cause a lot of problems, including in terms of safety, besides losing local government revenue and creating disruption to the services provided," he said.
Meanwhile, Annuar said, the (MEDIKK) meeting today agreed for the ministry and MCMC to discuss with representatives from each state to streamline and improve the implementation process of the JENDELA project, including in matters related to the approval of relevant infrastructure construction sites.
"Each state has its own rules and regulations and we don't interfere in matters under the jurisdiction of the state government, especially on land matters, but there are avenues for us to form an understanding by exchanging information.
"MCMC will provide a framework based on past experiences and we will sit down with state governments specifically to help us expedite future broadband infrastructure development projects," he said, adding that MCMC has also been asked to work closely with elected representatives to address complaints and provide better quality Internet coverage services.
The public can also continue to provide information on problems related to broadband services in their respective areas through the Jendela Map portal, he added.