Celcom’s 4G network covers 91% of Malaysia’s population. Live 5G trials to start next month

Today, Celcom has shared a couple of updates on its business and network performance. The telco has just completed its major network optimisation exercise in the last quarter and it promises to offer the best digital experience for video streaming, social network, mobile gaming and home wireless broadband.

Celcom Postpaid business is growing

Despite the challenging market situation, the blue telco has managed to increase its revenue by 1.1% from RM6.592 billion in 2017 to RM6.667 billion in 2018. The postpaid business has shown steady growth with increase in revenue, Average Revenue per User (ARPU) and subscription. Celcom currently has 2.99 million postpaid subscribers.

9,000 LTE sites nationwide

In the past few years, Celcom has also invested heavily in their network. As of February 2019, they have deployed more than 9,000 LTE sites nationwide with larger network capacity to deliver more data. As a result, Celcom claims that their LTE network now covers 91% of the population, which is pretty close to Maxis’ claim of 92% LTE population coverage. Meanwhile, 78% of the population is covered by LTE-A.

4-star rating on YouTube’s Video Checkup

A Celcom subscriber consumes an average of 12.4GB per month in 2018, which is almost double the average usage from 2017. The biggest usage is obviously video and 52% of video traffic comes from YouTube.

According to Celcom CEO, Idham Nawawi, having the fastest download speeds does not necessarily deliver the best video experience. There are other contributing factors such as LTE availability, latency and packet loss.

He added that Celcom’s network infrastructure has been optimised to deliver awesome video experience and a testament to that is their 4-star rating by YouTube’s Video Checkup. 4-stars is the highest rating at the moment for Malaysia and according to Google’s definition, you can enjoy smooth streaming in HD quality.

In terms of customer satisfaction, Celcom has received 32% less complaints from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. During the briefing, Idham says that Celcom is working very hard to reduce the number of complaints and to resolve any complaints as soon as possible.

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Another area they are investing is in the digital space where they have revamped their online portal, online portal and self-care app. Out of all transactions performed by customers, 65% are conducted online and this marks a 2.3X growth since 2016. To date, they have more than 1.1 million active users on the Celcom Life App and they have recorded 926,000 monthly transactions.

IoT and 5G

To prepare for the future, Celcom is building an IoT Centre of Excellence and they have pledged to invest RM100 million over the next 5 years. This will be utilised on building the network, R&D and on the IoT ecosystem. Some of the key areas they are looking at include smart metering and sensors, smart cars, smart cities and smart home solutions.

According to Idham, Celcom is working with several partners including assets under the Axiata Group. He added that there’s also the Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF) which has invested in 14 companies and Celcom will be working with them to build the ecosystem.

As announced by the government, Celcom will conduct live 5G trials starting April 2019 in Cyberjaya. The telco will continue to adopt a multi-vendor strategy where they will work together with Ericsson and Huawei to develop their 5G test-bed.

During the live 5G trial, Celcom will showcase several 5G use-cases which include holoportation, connected vehicles, VR football match streaming, 5G Fixed Wireless Access and connected drones.

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Alexander Wong