Maxis leads in Malaysia peak download speeds — but Celcom is close behind

Not all LTE networks are created equal, and few countries exemplify that maxim more than Malaysia. In OpenSignal’s analysis of peak download speeds in Malaysia, we found that there were vastly different capabilities across the six major operators’ networks. The fastest 4G peak speeds we measured were well over 70 Mbps, while the slowest were under 25 Mbps.

First let’s discuss what we mean by peak speed. Our peak download speed metric takes the average of the fastest 2% of all connections our users find. The score represents the most optimized connections on an operator’s network — speeds unfettered by network congestion, service restriction or technical limitations. Though a subscriber might occasionally find themselves with a connection akin to their operator’s peak speed, the occurrence is likely rare. What peak speed gives us, though, is an indication of true technical capabilities of the network itself.

As you can see from the chart, Maxis came out on top in our Malaysis peak speed analysis with a score of 73.3 Mbps. That should come as little surprise as Maxis has consistently outpaced its competitors in our 4G download speed measurements — usually winning by very big margins. But what’s interesting is that while Celcom is typically a distant second to Maxis in our average 4G download speed results, its peak speed scores aren’t that far from Maxis’ results. At 62 Mbps, Celcom’s peak LTE download speeds were only 15% slower than Maxis’ in our analysis. Meanwhile in our last State of Mobile Networks report for Malaysia, we found Celcom’s average 4G download speed was 33% slower than its competitor’s speed. According to our analysis, Maxis was able to provide typical connections much closer to its optimal network speeds. Maxis and Celcom both have powerful LTE networks, but Maxis appears to be more effectively managing its capacity.

As for the rest of Malaysia’s operators, we see more examples of network capabilities not matching up with peak speeds. DiGi, U Mobile and Yes all had comparable 4G download speeds in our last report, but their peak download speeds ranged from 40 Mbps to 55 Mbps in our measurements. So it follows that operators with the best connections under optimized conditions aren’t always the ones with the best speeds under everyday circumstances.

The biggest outlier in peak speed, however, was Unifi. The operator’s most optimized connections were on the slow side at 22.6 Mbps. That goes to show the vast differences in Malaysian operators’ network capabilities. While most of Unifi’s competitors have all been expanding their LTE services into new frequency bands and taking advantage of enhanced LTE-Advanced technologies, Unifi’s investment into LTE capacity and new spectrum appears to be much more limited.

If you’re a Malaysian mobile user, we’d love to hear about your experiences. What are the fastest speeds you’ve seen on your operator’s network? How do they compare to the typical speeds you see everyday? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter.