Malaysian mobile network operator Celcom Axiata has launched commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, local news outlet the Business Times reports. At launch the cellco noted that it had deployed around 70 4G-ready sites in the Klang Valley, with this figure expected to rise to around 100 by next month. The initial rollout focus, Celcom has said, will be the Klang Valley, Johor and Penang, although a number of other areas have been earmarked for coverage, including: Malacca, Kota Baru, Ipoh, Alor Star, Langkawi, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Terengganu and Kuching. Looking ahead, the cellco has said it aims to have some 300 LTE-enabled sites up and running by the end of 2015, while nationwide coverage, via around 1,500 sites, is expected by end-2015.
Access to the 4G network is initially restricted to USB modem only, with Celcom offering an LTE modem and three month’s subscription for MYR199 (USD64) as a launch offer for the first 1,000 customers to sign up. On an ongoing basis, the service, which Celcom advertises as offering downlink speeds of 50Mbps, will cost customers MYR138 per month and carries a 10GB monthly data usage cap.
Meanwhile, according to the Star Online, Celcom has said that it expects its LTE service to contribute to company revenues by the end of 2014. The report cites the operator’s chief corporate and operations officer Suresh Sidhu as claiming that revenue contribution from 4G services would be ‘reasonably small’ in 2013, but would be ‘quite large’ by end-2014 or early 2015.