Celcom to upgrade 4,700 sites to latest 4G tech by Feb 2021, almost 1,000 are in East Malaysia

Celcom has announced that it is expediting its network improvement exercise to support increasing demand for mobile data. The blue telco is accelerating its investment of RM256 million to upgrade its network capacity and to deploy more 4G base stations throughout Malaysia.

According to Celcom, they have recorded 40% increase in data traffic in Q3 2020 compared to Q4 2019. This is driven by the COVID-19 pandemic as more consumers are digitally engaged from their homes during the Movement Control Order.

Celcom targets to upgrade a total of 4,700 network sites nationwide with 49% located in urban areas and 51% in rural areas by February 2021. These sites will be upgraded and optimised with capacity upgrades and it also include installation of new 4G equipment and core network optimisation programs. Celcom added that almost 1,000 4G network sites in Sabah and Sarawak will be upgraded and optimised, which will improve 4G coverage in rural areas.

In addition, Celcom will also conduct nationwide cluster optimisation program for an additional 3,600 network sites which is targeted to be completed by August 2021. This optimisation will increase capacity to address buffering issues and to deliver better voice and video quality for customers.

Celcom CEO Idham Nawawi said “Celcom’s overall network experience is one of the key reasons for consumers choosing Celcom as a service provider. Celcom will be relentless in optimising its network coverage, capacity and resiliency, by accelerating investments at the most needed areas with the latest radio access network technology. “We are addressing the data traffic surge as our utmost priority, ensuring customers are always connected.”

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Idham assures that the upgrading and optimisation works are planned accordingly to ensure minimal or no impact on its network services. The improvements focus on delivering better in-building coverage from 4G LTE base station towers, a wider 4G coverage in rural areas especially in Sabah and Sarawak, and improved download speeds. As a result, the network will allow more consumers to enjoy HD video streaming and improved voice quality via Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE).

Idham also emphasised that Celcom is aligned with the government’s JENDELA plan to expand 4G coverage to every corner of the country by deploying the latest 4G technologies including 4T4R MIMO, carrier aggregation, 256QAM and more. Celcom currently boasts having the widest network with over 11,500 sites nationwide and having more than 13 million users.

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Alexander Wong