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Ookla says Malaysia’s 5G is the world’s most consistent, but what does it mean?

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — As announced by Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil at MWC 2024, Malaysia is ranked number 1 globally for 5G consistency. He shared that Malaysia’s 5G network deployed by Digital Nasional Berhad has gotten an Ookla 5G Consistency Score of 97.27 per cent, beating other countries that have rolled out 5G earlier.

To find out what it means to be ranked number 1 for 5G consistency, we spoke to several Ookla representatives to find out more about their testing methodology.

What is an Ookla Consistency Score?

According to Ookla, the company behind the popular speedtest platform, Consistency Score is their metric where they measure how consistent a network is. The measurement is based on speedtests by app users in Malaysia on the 5G network (across multiple telcos). The latest consistency claim is based on speedtests conducted in the last quarter (October to December) in Q4 2023.

Ookla added that each test must achieve a minimum of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload. The more consistent the test results are, the higher the score it gets, and that’s how Malaysia ended up with a score of 97.27 per cent, followed by North Macedonia at 94.06 per cent and the United Arab Emirates at 93.88 per cent.

Why are other developed nations not on the Consistency list?

We also asked Ookla why other developed 5G countries with higher recorded 5G speeds are not on the Consistency list. As highlighted in their Q3 2023 report, Malaysia is ranked below UAE, Qatar, South Korea, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan under the Speedtest Global Index. In terms of 5G performance, Malaysia is ahead of its peers in Southeast Asia with a Median 5G download speed of 485.25Mbps, but it is behind South Korea (507.59Mbps) and UAE (592.01Mbps).

They told us that there are other factors which include price plans. Ookla explained that some operators want to get consumers on board with 5G but the actual 5G speeds are throttled. Ookla added that different operators launch 5G differently and you have to look at the capability of the devices as well as other factors. It says Malaysia has got all of these going for consumers covering pricing, devices and the platform.

What is not covered by the Consistency Score?

It is worth pointing out that the Consistency Score is not about the fastest download and upload speeds. Ookla iterates that it is all about consistency. A representative told us that there’s no point having over 100Mbps today but it doesn’t deliver the same consistent results the next day. What they found from the recent claim is that Malaysia was the most consistent among all providers worldwide in the last quarter.

We asked Ookla if the consistency claim covers user experience such as video streaming, gaming or video calls. They answered no as the claim is purely on consistent speed.

Why 25Mbps? Isn’t it too low for 5G standards?

Since 5G networks worldwide can achieve download speeds in hundreds of Mbps, we asked Ookla why are they using a low threshold of a minimum of 25Mbps. They told us that Ookla is US-based and they follow FCC’s determination for minimum threshold. At the moment, FCC defines broadband as having the capability of delivering at least 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload. Obviously, that’s very low for today’s standards and Ookla says that it may change in the future.

The Best Global 5G Consistency Score is a claim, not an award

In case you’re wondering why you can’t find any report of Malaysia getting the Best 5G Consistency on Ookla’s website, Ookla has clarified that this is merely a claim and not an award. They added that a claim is based on 3-month data versus for Awards which are based on 6 months data, comparing two quarters.

Specifically for claims, Ookla said they only provide it for 3 months and it is based on that particular point in time. They added that 5G is constantly evolving as the network will have more traffic going through it, so therefore you will not get the same consistency across as the network grows. It is just a claim and they will continue to evaluate it.

Ookla says a claim is valid for 6 months and the next time they will look into the same claim will be for Q3 2024. — SoyaCincau