Malaysia’s DiGi.Com has released the latest update on the progress of its LTE network deployment, confirming that the 4G service now covers 50% of the population nationwide, putting it among the leading players in terms of the provision of mobile broadband access. The cellco’s CEO, Albern Murty, says that the milestone eclipsed the company’s internally-set target of 45% for the full year 2015, which was itself an increase on an initial target of 33% in May 2015. The Star quotes Murty as confirming that DiGi.Com is investing up to MYR900 million (USD217.3 million) this year to accelerate its 4G rollout in ‘key cities and towns’ nationwide. ‘Our intention is to continue being in a leading position in terms of coverage for 4G LTE. With more new sites to be installed, we should be able to better this figure by year-end,’ he is quoted as saying at a press briefing. By comparison, rivals Maxis and Celcom Axiata are targeting a population network coverage of 50% and 35%, respectively, for 4G LTE by end-2015.
The DiGI.Com official added that in the short term the carrier intends to focus on delivering 4G in the higher 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands, unlike its other main rivals which are utilising their larger spectrum holdings in the 900MHz band. ‘We are using the current spectrum very efficiently and that will give us the competitive advantage. It’s not just about how many towers are installed, but also how effectively the network is utilised,’ he claimed, noting that DiGi.Com – which began modernising its network infrastructure in 2011 as part of its push for 4G – has invested some MYR2.3 billion over the past three years. In addition, Murty added that the company is looking to deploy some 1,500 new cell sites and install around 6,000km of fibre by the end of this year. Currently its 4G LTE footprint covers 28 major cities and secondary towns nationwide, with an average population coverage of 80% in each of these locations.