[ UPDATE 22/08/ :40 ] YTL Communications CEO explains why the iPhone can’t connect to 5G on Yes 5G.
Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB)’s 5G network went live on 15th December 2021 and they are offering free access to telcos until the end of March 2022. Yes is the first and currently the only telco to offer 5G services in Malaysia. At the moment, only a handful of devices are able to access the 5G network and unfortunately, this excludes Samsung Galaxy and iPhone models.
To clear the air about 5G device support, DNB has issued a statement on Facebook which included an FAQ. According to DNB, they welcome all brands and “seeks to catalyse an active devices ecosystem for Malaysia’s 5G network”. It welcomes a wide range of 5G devices to be inclusive and to cater to all budgets ranging from entry-level to flagship phones. The statement said the availability of 5G devices in Malaysia falls within the purview of the respective device manufacturers.
DNB doesn’t certify or approve 5G devices
DNB emphasised that it isn’t their responsibility to certify or approve 5G devices. However, they provide facilities for manufacturers to conduct tests such as initial static tests as well as a test route to conduct on-the-road drive tests so that device manufacturers can configure their devices and update the firmware so that it is compatible with the 5G network. The certification of 5G devices is led by SIRIM with guidance by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
The official statement was released in response to Amanz’s post about DNB removing Samsung from its device support list. During the launch on 15th December 2021, DNB’s website had published a list of supported devices which included the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra. Other Samsung models such as the cheaper Galaxy A series as well as the flagship Galaxy Note 20, S20, and the Z Fold and Flip series are listed as “Upcoming” supported devices.
Yes 5G supported devicesWhen we got our Yes 5G starter pack in December, we have gotten confirmation from Yes that all Samsung and Apple iPhone models are not supported yet. With the Yes 5G SIM inserted in a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, the device could only get 4G. We are however able to get 5G on the Xiaomi 11T Pro and the Oppo Find N. The 5G network via Yes is currently compatible with most Chinese branded phones which include Xiaomi, Honor, Huawei, ZTE, Oppo, Poco, Redmi, Realme, and Vivo.
Eventually, DNB updated its device list and the Galaxy S21 series has been moved to the “Upcoming” list. The devices are expected to be supported by Q1 2022.
Samsung devices are expected to be supported by Q1 2022.What is required for devices to support 5G?
According to DNB’s FAQ, the time taken for a device to be 5G ready is dependent on the specific processes of the individual manufacturers. DNB iterated that it is not involved in the certification of the devices and users are urged to contact their telcos and device manufacturers for more info.
In terms of certification, most new 5G flagship phones including Samsung and Apple have already been certified by SIRIM for the 700MHz and 3.5GHz 5G bands. Although most smartphones can use 5G as long as the network is available, some brands may require a software update. This appears to be the case for both Samsung and Apple. According to one of our sources, Samsung is expected to push a software update for Malaysian users soon which will enable 5G connectivity.
When 4G was first rolled out in Malaysia back in 2013, Apple iPhone 5 users were required to download a Carrier Settings update in order to enable LTE. The carrier update was pushed only to telcos that are recognised by Apple. If you refer to the current list, Apple only lists Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile in Malaysia, and all four offer LTE, FaceTime, eSIM and VoLTE. Coincidentally, they are also Apple’s telco partners that offer new iPhone devices on contract.
It is likely that a similar carrier update from Apple is required to enable 5G on the iPhone. According to Apple’s website, to use 5G on your iPhone 12 or 13 series, you must have a 5G cellular plan on a carrier that supports 5G. In Singapore, their big 3 telcos – M1, Singtel, and StarHub are listed with 5G but there’s none in Malaysia.
If you noticed, other telcos such as Yes and Unifi Mobile are not listed by Apple and that’s the main reason why they do not support FaceTime and iMessage using their mobile number. Yes’ FAQ also states that their 4G LTE SIM plans support iPhone devices as a Data SIM only.
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