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TMCNet:  Celcom expands 4G services [Business Times (Malaysia)]

[December 02, 2013]

Celcom expands 4G services [Business Times (Malaysia)]

(Business Times (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KUALA LUMPUR: CELCOM Axiata Bhd, a unit of Axiata Group Bhd, will be the first to offer 4G services of up to 150Mbps per location following its spectrum-sharing agreement with Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd, Malaysia's biggest block holder of 4G spectrum.

As at September 2013, Celcom has 4G coverage in major population centres in Klang Valley, Ipoh, Penang and Johor Baru.

"By mid-2014, we expect to have 1,200 active 4G sites," said chief executive officer Datuk Seri Shazally Ramly.

Celcom has 13.5 million subscribers, while mobile broadband is sustained at 1.2 million members.

Shazally said the company has spent almost RM200 million for overall network quality improvements and system upgrades to address the industry issue of dropped calls.

The group will also be investing more than RM100 million to improve coverage and speed and fibre infrastructure in Klang Valley, east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak, major highways and tourist areas.

"We target to complete these uggrading works by April 2014," he said at a briefing on its third-quarter results ended September 2013, here, yesterday. Also present were chief financial officer Chari TVT and his deputy Jennifer Wong Chui Fen.

Celcom Axiata posted RM898 million pre-tax profit in its third quarter ended September 2013, a slight improvement from the previous quarter of RM896 million. This was on the back of RM2.02 billion revenue.

Last month, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) issued a stern warning to cellular companies that have been providing 3G services at lower-than-agreed bandwidth, causing low quality of 3G services.

MCMC had issued four blocks of the 2,100 megahertz (MHz), or 3G spectrum, to Celcom Axiata Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd, Maxis Bhd and U Mobile. 3G has been here for nearly a decade.

Public complaints noted telecommunications companies have been using the 900MHz and 1,800MHz frequency bands to roll out 3G services, instead of the primary 2,100MHz band.

The rationale for telco operators rolling out its 3G on the lower bands is because it is cheaper to do so. This implies that Internet data rates charged for 3G services do not commensurate with the actual delivery of speed and capacity.

When asked to comment, Shazally said that the group had already responded to MCMC that 81 per cent of its 3G services were being carried out via the 2,100MHz band.

"We take feedback seriously and we've been investing in better connectivity in our network. This is a continuous engagement that will yield the results in the quarters to come," he said.

(c) 2013 The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. All rights reserved. Provided by, an company

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