Malaysia’s CelcomDigi close to 50% done with its network modernization – Light Reading

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Malaysia’s CelcomDigi said it is nearly halfway done with the integration and modernization of its mobile network across the country, putting it ahead of schedule in its three-year post-merger transformation plan.

The telco operator said it has completed nearly 44% of the project at the end of April 2024, upgrading more than 7,200 sites nationwide. The company added the network upgrade has improved download speed in those areas by between 20% and 26% and enhanced signal strength by between 13% and 16%.

The company expects that by the end of June it will pass the 50% completion mark in four states, and 60% in three states, as well as complete the project in Penang.

The telco’s integration and modernization project was launched in June 2023, seven months after the merger of Celcom Axiata and Digi Telecommunications was approved by the boards of both companies in November 2022.  The nationwide network upgrade is set for completion in 2026.

“This new network is designed to potentially transition seamlessly into a new 5G network with an 18,000-site reach – the right infrastructure to usher Malaysia into the era of ultra-high speeds, low latency, and the opportunities of a more connected future,” CelcomDigi CEO Datuk Idham Nawawi said in a press release.

Building a 5G-ready network

The telco operator has forked out 4 billion Malaysian ringgit (US$852.75 million) for the project, with the goal of turning CelcomDigi into a “digital growth engine” for the country.

“We are working with strategic partners to trial 5.5G technologies and new use cases for enhanced digital experiences for Malaysian enterprises and consumers,” Nawawi said.

CelcomDigi said 86% of its upgraded sites – equipped with the latest radio access network technology, modernized transport backhaul and power supply – are now 5G-ready. Furthermore, the telco operator’s 5G core network is also being transformed to support 5G-Advanced functionality and services.

Meanwhile, the company also reported that its 4G LTE and 4G LTE-Advanced network footprints stand at 96.8% and 92.1% nationwide respectively.

For its network modernization project, CelcomDigi tapped Huawei and ZTE to provide network services, solutions and equipment.

The initiative – said to be one of the largest telecom network deployment projects in Malaysia – involves upgrades and site consolidation of almost 25,000 existing Celcom and Digi sites nationwide.

It also involves close to 800 engineers consisting of both skilled local engineers and R&D resources, and more than 250 specialized contractor teams for nationwide installation works. 

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