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Expert: 5G network to draw vast benefits, create new jobs

22 May 2022, The Borneo Post

KUALA LUMPUR: The deployment of 5G in Malaysia is poised to benefit the end users in numerous areas and create jobs for the people as the rollout being placed on track.

Prof Ir Dr Hafizal Mohamad, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia head of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said Malaysia could see the acceleration of new jobs with the advancement of the network, coupled with the new artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) applications, particularly in the education, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Being one of the first countries in the region to build a 5G ecosystem, he said some prediction estimated that approximately 148,000 new jobs would be created as the new 5G rollout progresses.

“These new AI and AR applications are not possible with the current network unlike the 5G network. Therefore, we should be able to see quite a number of startups blooming soon to provide new services for 5G,” he told Bernama recently.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), a total of 500 5G locations have been completed under phase 1A as at December 2021, covering areas in Cyberjaya, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, while phase 1B would see another rollout of 3,518 5G sites by year-end.

Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), a government-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the 5G rollout, is committed to an accelerated schedule to roll out 5G coverage to 80 per cent of the population by 2024.

Hafizal said the new generation of network enables small and medium enterprises to have secured, stable and reliable connectivity to promote their product with creativity.

“If you look back to the 3G era, if companies wanted to promote their services or products, they’re able to circulate the information using videos and audios to describe (them) but with 5G, we might see more advance methods being used, including high-definition videos,” he said.

Under Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA), he said the government has provided a high-quality initiative for a 5G wireless network, whereby the MCMC has identified three bands, namely low-band, mid-band and high-band, in accordance with other countries.

“With 5G, we can also see high-speed data and ultra low latency application emerging, particularly in industrial usage as it is important in the era of industrial revolution and some other applications of vertical that require very low latency.

“Normally, if you do speed test, end users can see several megabit per second speed for 4G-compatible devices but 5G can deliver up to a gigabit data per second besides, providing about 100 times increase in capacity compared to 4G,” he explained.

The 3G network is being retired, effective Dec 31, 2021, while 4G is being strengthened as part of the JENDELA initiative that aims to upgrade Malaysia’s digital communications infrastructure in preparations for the 5G rollout.

On Nov 10, 2021, the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia launched the country’s first 5G network in a bid to improve connectivity and to become a high-income nation.

The rollout of 5G will not affect the 4G connectivity for the public as both networks were being deployed independently, Hafizal said, adding that the network would support more devices, including the internet of things (IoT) devices.

Furthermore, he said the combination use of 5G and AI is also important in smart farming to analyse data on pH, fertiliser and temperature from the remote side with the use of sensor to detect.

“Besides, one of the common used case is the smart city. For instance, Langkawi has demonstrated to do transmission and monitoring for enforcement purposes with the setting up traffic camera in strategic locations to recognise and analyse human behaviour.

“We can also see used cases in the oil and gas industry such as Petronas’ usage of autonomous robot to do inspections, steaming 4K video and some other sensors for their operations,” he said.

As such, he believes the efforts by the government has been put in place with clear plans, and hopes the synergy and coordination among relevant agencies would be strengthened to make sure the plan is executed as planned. 

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