It has been six months since Celcom and Digi completed their merger and they have provided more updates on its network integration efforts. Besides integrating the workforce, distribution and sales channels, the merged telco is embarking on a massive network modernisation exercise which is described as the largest network deployment project in the country involving 18,000 sites.
As a merged telco, CelcomDigi is not only the biggest telco in Malaysia but they are also the largest local-listed technology company on Bursa Malaysia. With both brands combined, CelcomDigi currently serves more than 20 million customers.
At the moment, both Celcom and Digi networks have a combined footprint of 96.4% 4G population coverage which includes 90.3% for 4G LTE-Advanced nationwide. Data consumption continues to increase with Celcom users averaging 27GB per month, while Digi users average 23GB per month as of Q1 2023.
Celcom and Digi currently have 12,000 sites each and the merged telco aims to have 16,000 to 18,000 sites after it completes its integration and modernisation exercise. Despite the lower accumulative site count, the individual customer regardless of Celcom or Digi can look forward to improved coverage, speed and performance.
Highlighting the latest Opensignal report released in March 2023, Celcom has been awarded the most for overall experience including 4G coverage experience. Meanwhile, Digi is the winner for 5G experience covering video, gaming, voice, download and upload speeds.
For example, a single Celcom or Digi customer currently enjoys coverage provided by the respective 12,000 sites. The network integration will enable the same customer to enjoy greater coverage with access to an additional 4,000 sites. CelcomDigi also promises greater network quality by streamlining overlapping 7,000 sites and increasing capacity with 2,000 new sites.
In addition, they are also making their network more efficient by adopting the latest tech and 900MHz band while making all sites 5G ready. As part of the undertakings for the merger, both Celcom and Digi would have to divest 70MHz of spectrum to the MCMC over a 3-year period.
CelcomDigi assures there will be no major service disruption to customers during the network modernisation exercise. CelcomDigi CEO Datuk Mohamad Idham Nawawi shared that they have completed successfully completed integration at 5 pilot clusters in Sitawan, Rawang, Bercham, Port Dickson dan Kuantan and they were completed with no service disruption. Following the merger, CelcomDigi currently has Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson as their key network vendor.
As shown above, the number of accessible sites by both Celcom and Digi customers has increased and resulted in an uplift in user experience with consistent and reliable data throughput. In Sitiawan, CelcomDigi reported a 14% improvement in coverage and a 40% increase in download speeds. CelcomDigi has not provided a detailed timeline for its network modernisation exercise, however, Axiata has previously shared that it aims to complete the network integration by 2025.
When it comes to 5G, CelcomDigi still offers 5G access through its boosters which are offered for free on high-tier postpaid plans. They are also offering a special 5G booster bundle which provides additional bonus data.
Despite terminating its equity deal with Digital Nasional Berhad following the government’s shift towards a dual network model, CelcomDigi customers can still enjoy 5G as the access agreement with DNB is still intact. CelcomDigi has onboarded 4,381 5G sites on DNB and they have 2.8 million customers provisioned with 5G. From this figure, 11% are currently active 5G users.
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