Malaysia’s Celcom Axiata will reportedly spend around MYR420 million (USD133 million) and MYR800 million of its capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) respectively over the next twelve to 18 months as it looks to enhance its network for the deployment of LTE-based services. According to The Sun Daily, the operator is aiming to have 1,200 LTE-enabled base stations in operation by February 2014, covering 33 ‘strategic districts’ nationwide. Of the total it expects to spend, MYR85 million (CAPEX) and MYR160 million (OPEX) will be invested in East Malaysia. Meanwhile, by the end of 3Q 2013 Celcom expects to have deployed 315 4G base stations across the country, with CEO Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly saying that the company will be ‘LTE ready’ by February 2014.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in April 2013 Celcom announced the introduction of commercial LTE services in the Klang Valley; at launch it said it had switched on around 70 4G sites in the region. The initial rollout focus, Celcom noted, would be the Klang Valley, Johor and Penang, although a number of other areas were earmarked for coverage, including: Malacca, Kota Baru, Ipoh, Alor Star, Langkawi, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Terengganu and Kuching. Access to the 4G network is, however, initially restricted to USB modem users only.
Meanwhile, the executive also noted that around MYR400 million has been set aside to improve and upgrade its existing networks with a view to resolving issues of dropped calls and coverage black spots.