Malaysian Operators Need to Gear Up on Data Services As it Overtakes Voice by 2017

Malaysian Operators Need to Gear Up on Data Services As it Overtakes Voice by 2017

Malaysia's telecommunications sector is set to continue growing at a steady rate as more Malaysians develop a strong appetite for data consumption. With the rise in rich media content and the popularity of social media such as Facebook and the prevalence of Internet culture across the country, revenues from data will be growing rapidly for the foreseeable future.

According to IDC, a research company, mobile data services in Malaysia are becoming the major revenue contributant for mobile operators and are expected to surpass mobile voice revenues in 2017, which at present still account for 60% of revenues made by them. IDC via its International Data Corporation (IDC) Mobile Service Tracker 2H 2013 report, enlisted the strong growth in the number of people subscribing to mobile data, the increase in the 'richness' of media content and the deployment of 4G LTE services across many urban locations as the major drivers for the rise in data revenues.  IDC estimates the number of data subscribers to grow at a CAGR of 11%, from 57% of total mobile subscribers in 2013 to 89% in 2018.
According to IDC, the LTE coverage, currently provided by four operators in the country is recording higher average revenue per user (ARPU) compared to 3G, with IDC predicting the number of LTE subscribers to reach 7.6 million in 2018 from the current 265,000. IDC highlighted that despite the penetration rate of Malaysian mobile users exceeding 140% and high prepaid-postpaid ratio, mobile operators in the country have still been able to maintain their revenue growth. Overall mobile revenues are estimated to grow at an estimated 2.6% CAGR for the next 3 years and are expected to reach RM27.6 billion in 2018.

Executive Editor of The Fast Mode | 5G | IoT/M2M | Telecom Strategy | Mobile Data Innovations 

Tara Neal covers stories on strategies and initiatives in the Digital Telco space, and anchors the 5G and IoT/M2M verticals on the publication. Tara holds a First Class Honours in BSc Accounting and Finance from The London School of Economics, UK and is a CFA charterholder from the CFA Institute, United States. Tara has over 20 years experience in technology and business strategy.

Follow her on Twitter @taraneal11, LinkedIn @taraneal11, Facebook or email her at


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