Celcom has announced that it has achieved an average of more than 94% 4G LTE population coverage nationwide following its accelerated investment in its network. The telco has invested RM825 million to deploy 250 new sites while optimising 8,000 sites nationwide over the past 9 months. Celcom also claims to have 98% population coverage or higher in 9 states.
According to the announcement, they have made significant investments to increase 4G LTE population coverage in Sabah, Pahang, Terengganu, Sarawak, Negeri Sembilan and Kedah. In East Malaysia, they have made improvements at over 1,800 sites which saw an increased population coverage by 6% in Sabah and 1.9% in Sarawak.
In terms of data traffic, they have recorded 54.3% year-on-year growth with 581.9 million GB in Q3 2021 versus 377.2 million GB in Q3 2020. Average data consumption per user has increased from 18.5GB during Q3 2020 to 25.4GB in Q3 2021.
To keep up with data demand, Celcom has doubled its overall network capacity from 810Gbps in January 2020 to 1.6Tbps. At the moment, they serve over 14 million users which include customers on Mobile Network Virtual Operators (MVNO).
Celcom CEO Datuk Idham Nawawi said, “Our customers enjoy one of the highest throughputs with our network. We will continue to invest in our network and address the rapid data traffic growth, ensuring that our network reaches out to all societies, including the most remote areas in Sabah and Sarawak. We are modernizing our network with the latest network technology, including 8T8R RAN technology, that will significantly improve mobile capacity and user experience.”
“Our network improvements also include the cessation of 3G services which will enable us to allocate more network and spectrum resources to 4G LTE, making our network ready for 5G”, he added.
Last month, Celcom had conducted the first Voice over 5G new radio (VoNR) trial call in Malaysia between two 5G trial sites located at Kuah and Taman Berlian in Langkawi. The feature, which is a successor to Voice over LTE (VoLTE), allows users to remain on 5G when they receive or make a voice call
According to the last JENDELA report by the MCMC, Malaysia’s 4G population coverage stands at 94.03% as of 30th September 2021. It aims to hit 96.9% coverage by the end of 2022.
Malaysia aims to launch 5G services by the end of this year via Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB). At the moment, the commercial wholesale agreement is still not signed pending finalisation of the Reference Access Offer (RAO). DNB has announced that its network is ready for 5G services and they are offering free access to telcos until the 31st of March 2022. At the moment, only TM has committed to offering 5G user trial for Unifi Mobile postpaid subscribers.