BMI Industry Research said Thursday that Malaysian energy group Petronas‘ private 5G deployment will add momentum to Malaysian digital transformation.

The Fitch Group research unit said in a note that in BMI’s view, private 5G networks will be critical enablers of digital transformation for large enterprises in many different industries across Southeast Asia over the next five years.

“In Malaysia, for the most part, these will pivot around collaborations between enterprises and licensed mobile network operators as spectrum is currently tied to the individual operators (3G/4G) and the state-owned 5G platform Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB),” it said.

In this regard, the research house believes that if more enterprises were to deploy private 5G networks, this would make the planned second state-owned 5G platform more commercially viable than it would otherwise be and provide the government with a direct pipeline to all industries looking to leverage 5G for their technological transformations.

In this respect, it believes that the first steps being made by a large and economically important company like Petronas is crucial in encouraging other enterprises – public and private – in following suit.

“We do, however, highlight that that 5G is only one of many wireless connectivity technologies available to enterprises and alternatives such as WiFi6 or WiFi7, as well as low-power wide area network (LP-WAN) solutions that can also be used to facilitate many of the applications and solutions that Petronas (and others) will want to implement over the next decade,” it said.

According to the research house, these can be used in tandem with 5G or as standalone platforms in different parts of the business.
It said that this opens up the sector to specialized solutions providers rather than making an enterprise dependent on the existing public mobile network operators.

BMI also noted that private 5G will support the advancement of automation and control, increasing operational efficiencies through applications such as remote logistics and fleet management, enhanced safety and location-specific workflow processes for workers, the use of low-latency critical infrastructure through smart sensors etc.

It believes enterprises in industries as diverse as agribusiness, infrastructure, healthcare provision, manufacturing, logistics, heavy industries and education will be looking to adopt wireless technologies to support their evolution over the coming years.

It also said a successful deployment by Petronas could well stimulate demand across these sectors, particularly if the government actively encourages and supports its use.

It is noted that in early October, the Minister of Communications in Malaysia noted that a total of 5,873 base stations had been deployed within the DNB’s nationwide 5G network, with 70.2 percent of population covered.

At that time, a total of 2.49 million 5G subscriptions had been registered, claimed to be an adoption rate of 7.4 percent.

“We expect this number to rise to 2.93 million by the end of 2023, growing to 34.08 million by the end of 2032 (59.4 percent of all mobile connections). This number is likely to be swelled considerably by the introduction of machine-based connections served by enterprise-grade 5G networks,” BMI said.

Last Friday, Petronas announced that it has successfully adopted 5G private network at its Regasification Terminal Sungai Udang (RGTSU) in Melaka, the first in Malaysia to adopt the 5G technology for enterprise use.

It said the deployment of 5G private network by Petronas is expected to optimize its internal operations and induce industry-wide change.

It is noted that the event exhibited the aspirations under the Ekonomi MADANI and the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030) framework, which sets technology as the catalyst for a thriving and prosperous nation.

“As we embark on this transformative journey, it’s crucial to acknowledge the integral role cutting-edge technologies play, 5G’s fast connectivity, low latency, and capacity to handle massive data flows will empower our industries to innovate, compete and excel on a global scale,” said Haji Fadillah, Deputy Minister of Malaysia.

According to the statement, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is working closely with mobile service providers to deploy 5G standalone networks that will foster more use case development across industries in Malaysia.

It said Malaysia is also well on track in its target to achieve 80 percent 5G network coverage in populated areas by the end of 2023.

Petronas said that the deployment of the Petronas 5G Private Network sets the stage further for collaborative developments between the government, private sector, and academia to fully unlock the potential of 5G technology.

Additionally, through Ekonomi MADANI and the NIMP 2030, it said focus will be given to nurturing local talents in ensuring the workforce possesses adequate skills and expertise to drive forward the digital future.

Petronas Senior Vice President of Project Delivery and Technology Bacho Pilong said that the deployment of the 5G private network at RGTSU Melaka, has improved operational efficiency and safety, supporting its business and sustainability targets.

“Our strategic adoption of 5G technology sets us ahead in the energy industry,

“By combining 5G with Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and automation, we’re putting Open Petranas as among the leaders in the global technological race, while ensuring we meet the demands of supplying safe, reliable, cost-optimized and emission abated energy solutions for Malaysia and our customers globally,” he added.

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