CelcomDigi Berhad (CelcomDigi) today said that the company has now commenced its full-scale programme to build Malaysia’s future digital network – integrating and modernising the largest 4G network in Malaysia with the latest LTE and 5G-ready technologies. This marks one of the largest network deployment projects in the country involving a total of 18,000 sites, following the successful merger of Celcom and Digi earlier in December 2022.
Chief Executive Officer Datuk Idham Nawawi said “This new integrated and modernised network unlocks the benefits and strengths of the merger between Celcom and Digi. We are excited to embark on this project for the country, to build the largest, most modern digital network using the latest in mobile telecommunications technology. We have successfully deployed pilots in five clusters recently, namely in Sitiawan, Rawang, Bercham, Port Dickson, and Kuantan, and we are pleased to report that the upgrades were managed without any disruption to customer experience.
“We are committed to build a faster, more robust network to provide Malaysians with an unrivalled digital experience, built on the highest standards of connectivity, speed, reliability, and stability. Together with our wide menu of product offerings, we hope to enable customers with the best combination of choice, value and network experience to power their increasingly digital lives.”
Integration of two solid networks that rank tops in the latest third-party crowdsourced industry report by Opensignal
The new digital network will integrate the two existing strong networks that have a combined footprint of 96.4% for 4G LTE and 90.3% for 4G LTE-A, and both are most awarded in Opensignal’s latest industry report– Malaysia: Mobile Network Experience Report March 2023.
Both networks combined claimed 11 first-place finishes in the 15 categories analysed by the report, with the Celcom network earning top rankings for games and voice app experience, download and upload speed experience, and 4G coverage experience, while sharing 5G upload speed with Digi. Meanwhile, Digi led in all 5G experience awards categories – winning in 5G video experience, 5G games experience and 5G download speed categories, and sharing 5G voice app experience, 5G upload speed and excellent consistent quality.
Elevating service experience
The company will integrate and modernise the network by clusters, with activities focused on coverage and capacity expansion efforts, upgrading sites with the latest 4G and 5G-ready technologies such as massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and multiband remote radio units (RRU) to name a few, as well as streamlining overlapping sites to eliminate duplication. The company said it will maximise its spectrum portfolio to create a multilayer, multiband network, which includes nationwide deployment of the 900Mhz spectrum at all sites to improve coverage and indoor service quality.
“This new network is also designed to be able to potentially transition seamlessly into a new 5G network with an 18,000-site reach – the right infrastructure to usher Malaysia into the era of ultra-high speeds, low latency, and the opportunities of a more connected future. This is a significant development for CelcomDigi and the country, and we are excited to be leading the way to realise the potential of our shared digital future,” Datuk Idham added.
When completed, the new network will offer customers a significantly elevated quality of experience almost everywhere across the country, improving reach from 96% to 98% of Malaysians nationwide. Upgraded sites and capacity expansion will make for a faster, more efficient network engine with enhanced capabilities to deliver higher throughput. This will serve customers with faster and reliable connectivity, for supporting bandwidth-intensive applications and enabling smooth performance across multiple devices concurrently.
This future-proof network will strengthen CelcomDigi’s ability to better meet customer expectations, stay competitive, and keep pace with the data demands of an evolving digital landscape, simultaneously paving the way for 5G. The company said that the modernised network will be a critical piece in driving CelcomDigi’s ambitions to be the new digital growth engine for the nation.
Prior to the pilots, customers nationwide were already enjoying an improved coverage experience from close to 400 MOCN sites activated to-date. These MOCN sites were activated as an immediate benefit of closing the merger. These quick-win sites were located near office premises and respective Celcom bluecubes and Digi Stores across the country, as well as in other strategic locations.
As per its Q1 2023 financial report, the company plans to re-invest 15%-18% of total revenue in CAPEX to support both existing networks and the new integrated and modernised network. It also plans to keep a strong pace of integration execution to complete the network exercise in the next two and a half to three years’ time. More information on the network integration and modernisation efforts will be shared in due course.