Malaysia had 44.6 million mobile service subscriptions with a penetration rate of 143.7% in 2016. Mobile penetration has been on a decline since 2014 as a result of the introduction of GST in 2015. The mobile services market is highly prepaid in nature with 77.1% prepaid. Postpaid subscriptions have been increasing as a result of more competitive bundle plans. Due to a prolonged price war, short-term growth of mobile network operators had been hampered. This, coupled with increased data quota-centric competition, has impacted growth of mobile service revenues. Prepaid ARPU is at $7.60 and is higher than in most Southeast Asian countries with exception of Singapore.
Postpaid subscriptions are on the rise with growth recorded mainly by the smaller mobile service providers. Increasing demand for mobile data services is expected to help offset the decline in voice and SMS ARPU over the next 5 years, mostly due to threats from OTT services. However, the current downward pressure on data pricing is a key threat to mobile operator’s data monetization strategy to offset declines in voice and SMS. The market is still being mainly served by 3G networks but 4G LTE networks are likely set to take over within the next 3-5 years.
WiMAX networks will be replaced by 4G LTE networks by 2020 and after migrating consumers to the 4G LTE network, WiMAX services will no longer be offered in Malaysia from 2021. As WiMAX phases out, the industry will be dominated by 4G LTE networks and served using LTE-Advanced Pro as an industry standard.
The recent spectrum re-allocation by SKMM in February 2016 has resulted in the biggest beneficiary being U Mobile. Armed with new spectrum from July 2017, U Mobile looks set to take on the bigger participants. However, the upcoming expiration of spectrum at 2.1GHz, 2.300 GHz, and 2.6 GHz and the availability of the 700MHz band from 2018 will trigger another spectrum re-allocation exercise in 2017. This may change the competition dynamics as well as impact the profitability of mobile network operators in the coming years. Companies mentioned in this study include Maxis, DiGi, Celcom, Webe, Altel, Telekom Malaysia and YTL Communications.
Key Questions this Study will Answer
• What are key attributes of the market?
• How big is the market?
• What are the market share and competitive dynamics of key participants in the market?
• What industry trends are impacting key participants?
• What is the market outlook