THE Penang International Airport (PIA) became the first international airport in the country to be equipped with 5G network facilities.
State Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari, who launched the 5G facilities at the airport today, said the 5G infrastructure would attract more investors to boost the digital economy in Penang.
Zairil (third from left) cutting the ribbon to mark the launch of 5G at the Penang International Airport. With him are (from left) Mohd Nadzim, Rahmat, Wing, Suresh and Nur Aishah.
“The much-awaited 5G technology has arrived in Penang, thanks to MCMC (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission), YTL Communications and Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB).
“5G is ultra-fast. I am happy that 5G has, at last, arrived as promised for the WCIT (World Congress & Information Technology 2022) 2022. I welcome the technology. We hope that it will bring Penang to greater heights.
“When we speak about digitalisation, speed is most important. In this respect, the Penang government is constantly working with MCMC and telcos to ensure that coverage and connectivity are always competitive in this 21st century.
“Congratulations to all involved and may you all enjoy 5G internet,” Zairil told reporters after launching the event.
Zairil added that the state is prioritising 5G coverage at three sites – the PIA, Wisma Yeap Chor Ee and Setia SPICE – because of the WCIT 2022 which will be held on Sept 13-15.
Also present at the airport were YTL Communications chief executive officer Wing K. Lee, MCMC director Rahmat Abu Nong, Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) operations division director M. Suresh, PDC Telecommunication Services Sdn Bhd network manager P. Saravanan, Malaysia Airports Holding Bhd senior airport manager Mohd Nadzim Hashim, Penang State Secretariat Office under secretary Nur Aishah Md Norodin, principal assistant secretary Mohd Rizwan Rozi, and head of telecommunication infrastructure unit (Local Government Division) Mustaqin Alpi.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who launched the 5G ceremony at the UAB Building in George Town two days ago, said with the new technology, the state’s commercial values would be boosted while delivering faster, seamless and safer coverage for the people of Penang.
In 2020, he said, Penang took a major step towards the delivery of 5G services with the launch of 19 demonstration projects worth a total of RM23 million in collaboration with seven telecommunications companies.
(From left) YTL Yes sales manager Adrian Lim, Wing, Nur Aishah and Mohd Rizwan flash 5 fingers to show that 5G has arrived in Penang.
Nur Aishah said the state targets a total of 463 sites – 228 on the island and 235 on the mainland by June next year.
“Today we have launched a 5G commercial network brought by YTL at Penang International Airport whereas in Langkawi Airport was a private network meant for proof of concept,” Nur Aishah said.
As it is now, a total of 151 sites have been identified on the island for the execution of 5G services under the Phase One implementation plan by DNB for this year.
Out of the 151 sites, 58 new 5G telecommunication structures were set up while the remaining 93 structures were upgraded from the existing ones.
For next year, under Phase Two, Nur Aishah added that the island will have an additional 77 similar 5G structures while 235 structures will be set up in Seberang Perai.
Using his mobile phone to do a test, Zairil found out that the speed inside the airport is 10 times faster than 4G.
Wing said it would be 20 times faster if it was tested outside the airport.
YTL is the first telco company in Penang to launch the 5G services with an internet speed surpassing 120Mbps.
“The Penang state government is very progressive and has a far vision. Wherever the government gives the support, 5G can happen,” Wing said.
In another matter, Zairil said he expected the new car park at the airport to be ready for use by the end of this year.
He said the construction of the car park, which can accommodate 1,800 cars, is 99% complete.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Law Suun Ting