Do Malaysians need up to 60GB of mobile data? Expert sheds light on average monthly usage

Milad Hassandarvish
Malaysians are among the highest mobile data users in the region with over 10GB of monthly data usage on average. — Picture from Pexels.com

KUALA LUMPUR, October 18 — Ever wondered how much mobile data would be sufficient for your monthly usage?

No matter how conscious a user you are, your data will be gobbled up, especially when streaming high definition (HD) videos and content on social media feeds.

To better understand the mobile data usage habits of Malaysians and how much data one needs on average, Malay Mail caught up with Maxis chief technology officer Morten Bangsgaard.

According to him, Malaysians are internet-hungry and expect even more data for all their streaming, surfing and sharing on social media.

“Year after year, we are seeing a surge in data consumption, and this is an indication of their increasingly digital lifestyles,” he added.

Citing a report by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Bangsgaard said there has been an upsurge in the number of internet users here, driven by wider access to the 4G LTE network coverage, improved network quality as well as innovative and competitive new data plans and promotions in the market.

He added that the trend for richer content such as HD and ultra HD videos, and sophisticated mobile games, is growing and driving the higher demand for mobile data.

“Because of that, users will consume a larger amount of data.

“In fact, over 200,000 of our customers are currently using more than 60GB data in a month,” he said.

How much data do Malaysians use monthly?

Based on their customer database, Bangsgaard said Maxis users consumed an average of 13.6GB of mobile data per month, as at the second quarter of this year.

“Consumption also depends on the type of plans that our customers subscribe to as well as their needs.

“For example, our MaxisONE Prime customers alone consume around 15GB to 25GB monthly, with over 80 per cent of their data usage being spent on video streaming, mainly on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and web browsing,” he said.

Pointing out the top mobile apps used by Maxis customers since January, Bangsgaard said YouTube continues to be the top app for video streaming in Malaysia, accounting for over 40 per cent of volume.

However, he hinted that the trend is seeing a decrease.

Malaysians consume most of their mobile data on social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. — Picture from Pexels.com

“There is a rising trend of Facebook and Instagram application usage now for video consumption at nearly 30 per cent and 25 per cent by volume, respectively.”

Malaysians among the highest mobile data users in the region

Citing the Digital in 2019 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social, Bangsgaard said Malaysia’s number of mobile internet users of the total population is 77 per cent as opposed to the global 52 per cent.

“It’s therefore not surprising that Malaysians are among the highest mobile data users in the region as of the end of 2018, with more than 10GB of monthly data usage on average.

He attributed the rising usage to the high smartphone penetration in Malaysia which stands at 88 per cent.

However, Bangsgaard pointed out that their customers have the option of subscribing to any plan that suits their digital lifestyles, whether it’s 30GB or all the way up to 60GB.

“Based on these needs, our customers have the freedom to experience the internet on their own terms.

“We proactively provide higher quota to ensure a worry-free internet experience,” he said.

Bangsgaard also highlighted that their customer’s data consumption has increased by over 40 per cent from the same quarter last year, and expects these trends to continue to accelerate.

What can one do with 60GB of mobile data?

If you wonder what you can do with an enormous amount of mobile data, Bangsgaard said 60GB would allow customers to enjoy a worry-free and superior internet experience.

Especially when it comes to using apps that require heavy data usage, such as gaming and streaming HD and UHD videos on the go.

Breaking down the mobile app activities among Malaysians, Bangsgaard said messenger app usage is the highest at 96 per cent with WhatsApp taking the top spot, followed by video streaming at 95 per cent with YouTube ranking number 1, mobile map services at 85 per cent, gaming at 73 per cent and mobile banking at 66 per cent.

About 73 per cent of Malaysians engage in mobile gaming activities. — Picture from Pexels.com

“For Maxis customers specifically, over 80 per cent of their data usage is spent on watching videos, mainly on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, as well as web browsing.

“Meanwhile, about half of our total mobile internet customers access our Hotlink RED and MyMaxis mobile apps every month.

He added that customers sought excitement, meaning, relevance, social connection and more, “so it is only natural that our propositions offer customers what’s relevant to them”.

Meanwhile, Bangsgaard noted that more that today’s workforce is very much powered by mobile.

“Connectivity is the lifeline of every business, whether it’s connecting with customers, clients or colleagues, or retrieving files and information on cloud.

“For businesses to remain connected from anywhere and anytime, they will need to rely on a network that delivers an ‘always on’ and worry-free, 24/7 connection.”

Maxis chief technology officer Morten Bangsgaard says the company plans to continuously improve their services by investing in their network. — Picture courtesy of Maxis Berhad

Moving forward, Bangsgaard said Maxis plans to continuously improve their services by investing in their network.

“In 2018, we invested over RM1 billion in capex (capital expenditure) across Malaysia with an additional incremental capex of RM1 billion over the next three years.

“To ensure that we continue to provide the best experience to our customers, we are investing significantly in network capacity to support planned data traffic growth, including home fibre and enterprise growth” he added.

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