CelcomDigi Berhad (CelcomDigi), the Malaysian telco, has announced the commencement of a full-scale program to build the country's future digital network. CelcomDigi says this initiative involves integrating and modernising Malaysia's largest 4G network with the latest LTE and 5G-ready technologies. The project follows the successful merger of Celcom and Digi in December 2022 and is set to be one of the largest network deployment projects in the country.
Seamless Transition and Successful Pilots
According to CelcomDigi, this integrated and modernised network will unlock the benefits and strengths of the merger between the two companies. The aim is to build the largest and most advanced digital network using state-of-the-art mobile telecommunications technology. The company has already conducted successful pilot deployments in five clusters, including Sitiawan, Rawang, Bercham, Port Dickson, and Kuantan, without disrupting the customer experience.
The primary focus of network integration is to enhance coverage and capacity expansion. CelcomDigi plans to upgrade its sites with the latest 4G and 5G-ready technologies, such as massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and multi-band remote radio units (RRU).
Improved Coverage and Capacity Expansion
The company will also streamline overlapping sites to eliminate duplication and maximise its spectrum portfolio to create a multilayer, multi-band network. The nationwide deployment of the 900 MHz spectrum will improve coverage and indoor service quality.
The new network will combine the strengths of Celcom and Digi, both of which have been recognised as top performers in the mobile network industry. The new digital network will integrate the two existing strong networks that have a combined footprint of 96.4 percent for 4G LTE and 90.3 percent for 4G LTE-A. CelcomDigi also said this new network is also designed to be able to transition seamlessly into a new 5G network with an 18,000-site reach.
Strengthening Customer Experience
Once completed, the integrated network will offer customers a significantly improved quality of experience across the country, expanding the reach from 96 percent to 98 percent of Malaysians nationwide.
According to CelcomDigi, customers across the country are already enjoying improved coverage from nearly 400 MOCN sites activated following the merger. These sites, strategically located near office premises, Celcom bluecubes, Digi Stores, and other key locations, were activated as an immediate benefit of the merger's closure.
Future-Proof Network and 5G Readiness
This future-proof network will not only meet customer expectations but also pave the way for the rollout of 5G technology. CelcomDigi plans to reinvest 15 percent-18 percent of its total revenue in capital expenditures (CAPEX) to support both the existing networks and the new integrated and modernised network, according to its Q1 2023 financial report.
Timelines and Commitment
The network integration and modernisation efforts will be carried out in clusters, and CelcomDigi expects to complete the project within the next two and a half to three years. In due course, more details about the initiative will be shared, showcasing the company's commitment to providing Malaysians with an unparalleled digital experience.
CelcomDigi said they will share more information on the network integration and modernisation efforts in due course.