Like every other country across the world, the number of internet users in Malaysia has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 2 decades at least. The government of Malaysia has put in place several initiatives to ensure its people are connected digitally such as the National Broadband Initiative.
Fast increase of internet users
By the end of 2015, the total population in Malaysia breached 30 million. This will continue to grow to 31.62 million by 2017. In terms of the penetration rate of internet users, it was about 70% between 2014 and 2015. By 2018, the total internet users in Malaysia reached 87.4%.
While there are many new digital devices in the market, smartphones remain as the most popular platform for users to access the internet. For this, 9 out of 10 people use smartphones for internet access. The highest percentage of internet users in Malaysia are in the 2 Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya which is at 80% and 98.5% respectively a few years ago. It will not be a surprise that this has now breached to almost 99% today.
Another remarkable initiative that was launched recently is the NFCP or National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan. This was done by the government to promote more affordable broadband services and better quality connectivity to the people in Malaysia.
Wi-Fi hotspots Communities in Malaysia
In Malaysia, there are more than half a million free mobile Wi-fi hotspots. In fact, this number has grown to over 600,000 to date. It is interesting to note free wi-fi is available in most states in the country especially in tourist-friendly places. In Kuala Lumpur alone, there are now more than 160,000 free mobile Wi-Fi hotspots.
Internet Users and demographics
Internet users in Malaysia increased by 10.5% from 2016 to 2018 when it was 76.9% before rising to 87.4%. It is important to note that almost 40% of internet users in Malaysia spend between 1 and 4 hours a day online. The gender division remains quite equal. This came to light when in 2013, there were 58.3% male users and a year later, this has dropped to 51.4% male users and 48.6% female users.
Streamyx and Unifi Broadband Internet Services
Streamyx offered by TM (Telekom Malaysia) was one of the earliest operators of broadband internet access in Malaysia. Today, it is almost fully replaced by Unifi, offered also by TM. Meanwhile, all the telcos in Malaysia, namely Maxis, Celcom and Digi (and several others) offer their own set of broadband internet access as well. It was only about 15 years ago that people were using dial-up modems to access the internet, content with a bandwidth of 56k/ps. Today, the data transfer amount to the Gigabytes. Then, it was considered as acceptable speed but with video streaming and more demand for fast internet services, even 50MBits/s can sometimes be regarded as insufficient.
Fair Use of Internet Services
Network congestion remains as one of the biggest problems in internet users. A house can have a 50Mbit/s bandwidth service but that does not in any way reflect the true picture. This is because the network infrastructure is designed to be shared among those in the community and offered based the service provider’s discretion. As such, an aggregation strategy is adopted where users are offered a connection speed only for a certain time period. However, there are sometimes peak hours during the day where many users are connected simultaneously. This then requires the service provider to fall back to offering shared services so that everyone gets a fair share of the network.