Altel Communications, the telecoms subsidiary of Puncak Semangat, is reportedly planning to invest more than MYR1 billion (USD308 million) over the next five years on the deployments of its LTE network. According to the Sun Daily, the infrastructure is expected to be rolled out by the end of this year, while the first commercial services are actually set to be introduced from this month. With only pre-paid services set to be offered initially, Altel’s first post-paid tariffs are to be introduced at the end of 2013, and the company has said it aims to exceed 150,000 customers within the first year of launch. Enterprise customers are expected to be a key area of focus for the new operator, as it has suggested that the consumer market is already saturated.
Altel CEO Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Yaacob confirmed that the operator plans to use internal funds for the initial capital expenditure, which is expected to be between MYR300 million and MYR400 million for the first two to three years. In operational terms, Altel expects to have constructed 500 LTE radio base stations in the first year, with that figure rising to 2,100 in the third year of operations; the base stations will consist of sites built by Altel itself, as well as those constructed in collaboration with other players.
Commenting on the plans, the newcomer’s chairman Datuk Hilmi Mohd Noor was cited as saying: ‘For Altel, it would require an investment of more than MYR1 billion to deploy the kind of network we would like. However, with industry collaboration, smart partnerships and innovative approaches regarding the use of CAPEX versus OPEX, we expect to make significant savings.’ Further, the executive noted that Altel is in the process of finalising a number of partnerships, though the identities of the companies it is in discussion with were not disclosed.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Puncak Semangat emerged as the biggest winner in the state’s allocation of 2.6GHz spectrum in December 2012, claiming 2×20MHz compared to the 2×10MHz that seven other operators were handed. Last month, meanwhile, it was revealed that the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, Celcom Axiata, would roll out 4G infrastructure jointly with the new licensee. Under the plans, Celcom and Altel will pool their respective 2×10MHz blocks of spectrum in the 2600MHz band to construct a network utilising LTE technology. It is understood that as per the terms of the agreement between the companies, Celcom will serve as the exclusive infrastructure and wholesale provider for Altel, which will offer services as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Meanwhile, the deal also covers the terms and conditions relating to domestic roaming services and RAN sharing arrangements between both parties, which are said to be subject to further negotiations and eventual execution.