The state of 5G in Southeast Asia

After years of promise, the 5G cellular broadband technology has begun to be deployed across the globe, but each country’s approach and timeline differs. Here’s how 12 Southeast Asian nations are planning their 5G efforts.

4g versus 5g horizon sunrise
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Consumers, telecom operators, and enterprises have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 5G networks throughout Southeast Asia. 5G networks promise more bandwidth and faster connections than previous cellular broadband technologies, and carriers a promise that 5G will boost internet of things (IoT) deployments.

Singapore is furthest along in Southeast Asian 5G deployments, but 5G deployment efforts will occur across the region in the coming years, as this CIO ASEAN survey shows. In many Southeast Asian countries, the focus is on 5G hotspots, which are local fixed cellular networks for nonpublic use such as to link hospitals, before deploying broad 5G technology for individual use.

Still, the cellular industry association GSMA notes that in many Southeast Asian countries that 4G LTE networks will be sufficient for years to come, and the 5G networks have plenty of room to grow, before either carriers or consumers need to invest in 5G. The penetration of 5G across Southeast Asia will vary greatly from country to country, the GSMA projects. As of 2025, the GSMA expects the following 5G penetration in the Asia-Pacific region:

  • Australia: 54%
  • Indonesia: 5%
  • India: 7%
  • Malaysia: 20%
  • Singapore: 34%
  • South Korea: 67%

What follows is the current status in the 10 ASEAN nations and its two observer members.

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