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Indonesia lags behind in 5G Download Speed and 5G Availability among South-East Asian markets

5G rollouts in South-East Asia are progressing, with each country at varying stages of deployment. Opensignal’s latest analysis of the landscape within the region highlights Indonesia’s relatively slow progress in 5G when compared to its regional counterparts — Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

Among these countries, Indonesia observes the lowest average 5G download speed, with the smallest uplift in users’ average download and upload speeds using 5G over 4G. However, the 5G Video Experience and Games Experience are competitive, aligning closer to the regional leaders. The critical issue for Indonesia is its 5G Availability, where it lags substantially — our Indonesian 5G users spend just 1% of the time with an active 5G connection. This means that while Indonesian users have a better experience when watching on-demand video or playing multiplayer mobile games on 5G than on 4G, they spend so little time on 5G that the improvement has little effect on their overall experience.

Starting with 5G speeds, Indonesia lags behind its regional peers in terms of 5G download speed, with users clocking up speeds of 58.3Mbps on average. This starkly contrasts with leading markets such as Singapore and Malaysia, which boast speeds of 355.5Mbps and 314.9Mbps, 6.1 and 5.4 times faster than Indonesia, respectively. This gap is also evident when comparing Indonesia with the Philippines, where the average 5G speed is a considerable 134.6Mbps, about 2.3 times faster. Furthermore, Thailand's average of 82.6Mbps is 41.6% faster than Indonesia's.

Indonesia also ranks at the bottom of the table when comparing the uplift in average download speeds seen when comparing 5G and 4G speeds in each market. The 5G download speeds in Indonesia are a mere 2.5 times faster than 4G. In contrast, Malaysia tops the table for the uplift in users’ average download speeds using 5G over 4G with a staggering 13.5 fold increase, followed by Singapore, Philippines and Thailand with increases ranging from five to 7.7 times.

Regarding 5G upload speeds, Indonesia is middle of the pack — surpassing Thailand and the Philippines but still behind Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesia's 5G upload speed averages 23.2 Mbps, 25.7% faster than Thailand and 85.3% faster than the Philippines. On the other side of the scale, Malaysia has the fastest 5G upload speed of 40.7Mbps on average, followed by Singapore with 27.6Mbps.

The uplift in users’ average upload speeds using 5G over 4G stands at 2.3 times in Indonesia, mirroring the uplift in the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Malaysia, however, sees a larger uplift with average 5G upload speeds 4.7 times faster than 4G.

Turning to the quality of experience while streaming videos, the difference across these markets in 5G Video Experience is less pronounced than in 5G speeds.

For 5G Video Experience, Indonesia places in the middle, outperforming the Philippines and Thailand but lagging behind Singapore and Malaysia. The 5G Video Experience across all five markets places in the Very Good (68-78) category. This means our users are, on average, able to stream video at 1080p or better with satisfactory loading times and little stalling. Conversely, the 4G Video Experience in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand rates as Good (58-68). Singapore is the only market to achieve Very Good for 4G Video Experience, placing just inside the category.

Singapore also leads in 5G Games Experience with a score of 91.7 points (on a 100-point scale), narrowly ahead of second-placed Malaysia and Indonesia’s statistically tied scores of 88.3-88.7 points. Owing to these scores, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia achieve an Excellent (85-95) rating for 5G Games Experience. Meanwhile, Thailand and the Philippines trail behind with 79.4 and 71.6 points, respectively, and garner Good (75-85) ratings.

All five markets demonstrate a significantly better experience with 5G than with 4G, as the 4G Games Experience ranges from Good in Indonesia and Singapore to Fair (65-75) in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Fast mobile speeds or great video streaming or gaming experience offered by 5G can only be appreciated if users can latch on to an active 5G signal. This highlights a critical issue in Indonesia, where 5G Availability significantly lags behind its Southeast Asian neighbors. While countries like Singapore and Thailand lead the region for 5G Availability — 32% and 24.9%, respectively — and Malaysia follows closely behind at 20.2%, the Philippines and Indonesia fall notably behind. The Philippines' score of 11.9% leaves much to be desired, coming in at less than half that of Thailand, but Indonesia lags even further behind, with our 5G users spending a paltry 1% of their time with an active 5G connection.

Despite this, when considering the combined time users spend on both 4G and 5G networks, Indonesia's performance is relatively strong. With a score of 97%, it is just slightly behind Malaysia and Singapore (by only 0.1-0.5 percentage points) and substantially ahead of Thailand and the Philippines, both scoring below 95%.

Overall, comparing Indonesia's 5G experience against that of other South-East Asian markets presents a complex picture. While Indonesia lags behind in 5G download and upload speeds compared to regional leaders like Singapore and Malaysia, Indonesia holds its ground in 5G Video Experience and 5G Games Experience. However, the crux of the issue lies in 5G Availability, where Indonesia significantly trails its peers, with our Indonesian 5G users spending just 1% of their time on a 5G signal. This glaring gap in 5G Availability is the primary factor diminishing the potential advantages of 5G technology in Indonesia. It can be attributed to multiple factors, including the unavailability of key 5G spectrum bands like the 3.5GHz band, leading to reliance on more restricted spectrums in 2.3GHz or 1800 MHz bands — although, Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Informatics does plan to auction spectrum in the 700MHz and 26GHz frequency bands in the near future. Additionally, the archipelagic geography of the country presents unique challenges, as establishing a comprehensive 5G network across numerous islands is logistically complex and requires significant investment.

Despite having launched 5G in 2021, Indonesia has considerable room for improvement in terms of the 5G user experience. To reduce the 5G experience gap between it and its South-East Asian peers and to meet the growing demand for high-speed mobile internet, Indonesia needs to adopt more proactive deployment strategies and potentially explore more efficient spectrum utilization. Improvements in network infrastructure, wider 5G coverage, and increased speeds will be crucial for Indonesia to fully leverage the benefits of 5G technology.