No more 3G equipment certification

Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will no longer certify 3G equipment as the country is targeting to shut down the sunset network by the end of 2021.

Chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek said the commission embarked on the journey last year as the country advances into 4G and beyond.

“We have informed the Customs Department, Sirim and all relevant agencies that we will no longer certify 3G equipment. We will allow 4G equipment to be brought into the country,” he said on Bernama TV’s The Nation programme entitled “Towards realising and achieving the digital nation agenda”.

However, for those who are still using 3G equipment, he said the respective service providers would offer packages to help people who may have 3G devices to move into 4G devices at a lower cost.

Another reason to stop the certification of 3G equipment is to prevent the sunset network devices from being dumped into Malaysia.

“We need to ensure the 3G goods or equipment are not imported into the country, hence they should not be sold to anyone.

“So, once you stop the supply of 3G equipment into the ecosystem, then you need to phase out the equipment already in the ecosystem so that they can be replaced by 4G ones,” he added.

Besides, most of the applications also work best on 4G networks, he said.

On pricing, Fadhlullah said it’s a matter of supply and demand.

It was announced that Malaysia is targeting to shut down 3G networks by the end of 2021 in order to improve 4G networks which, in turn, serve as the foundation for 5G deployment.

Based on reports by Digital News Asia, phase one, which involves the planning phase, has already been completed.

This started with the establishment of the 3G Network Sunset Task Force, leading off to network and customer migration plans produced by service providers.

The task force is expected to issue a notice for discontinuation of 3G and non-VoLTE capable devices importation by January 2021, on top of providing notifications and engagement with device manufacturers and suppliers to accelerate the adoption of voice over LTE (VoLTE).

This is because 4G is an all IP (Internet protocol) network designed for data rather than voice. VoLTE is where high quality voice calls can be delivered over the 4G network.

Meanwhile, phase two, the implementation phase of the operation, is expected to be carried out in 2021, wherein 3G coverage will ease until it is fully shut down.

The operation will see customer migration plans by service providers as well as the execution of communication plans, including 3G Sunset awareness programme and education to the general public. – Bernama