Celcom reveals LTE roadmap, customers to enjoy speeds of up to 400Mbps soon

  • Expects its LTE network to cover 85% of population by year end, 95% by end 2019
  • LTE Advanced Pro network to cover 30% of population by end 2019

Celcom reveals LTE roadmap, customers to enjoy speeds of up to 400Mbps soon

From left: Celcom chief technology officer Amandeep Singh, deputy chief executive officer Azwan Khan Osman Khan, and head of network planning and engineering Azizee Abdul Aziz

Celcom Axiata Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of regional telecommunications firm Axiata Group Bhd, will be offering its customers wireless broadband speeds of up to 400Mbps in August. 

The faster wireless broadband network, dubbed Lightning Fast LTE network, is based on the LTE Advanced Pro standards -- which supports technologies like MIMO (multiple antennas) technology and carrier aggregation. 

"We are proud to raise the bar of the mobile communications industry in Malaysia by offering the Lightning Fast LTE platform to our customers and this ties in directly with our corporate vision to continue offering the best to them," said deputy chief executive officer Azwan Khan Osman Khan during a media briefing in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

"The Lightning Fast LTE transmission speeds up to and beyond 400Mbps will enable seamless browsing experience for the download of HD, 2K and 4K multimedia quickly, without having to compromise on quality."

During the media briefing, the company demonstrated its Lightning Fast LTE network whereby a download speed of over 420Mbps was achieved. (Note: the demonstration was conducted in a controlled environment).  


Aggressive LTE roadmap

Celcom reveals LTE roadmap, customers to enjoy speeds of up to 400Mbps soon

Over the next three years, Celcom will be embarking on a relatively aggressive LTE coverage expansion plan, as revealed by Celcom head of network planning and engineering Azizee Abdul Aziz (pic above).

For a start, it plans to have a LTE population coverage of 85% by end of this year -- this would involve some 8,000 sites. Currently, less than half of the 8,000 sites are powered by LTE. 

It will not stop there. The company aims to expand its LTE coverage to 89% by end 2018, and 95% by end 2019.

As for its LTE-Advance (LTE-A) coverage, Celcom hopes to have a LTE-A population coverage of 40% by end of this year, 50% by end 2018, and 60% by end 2019. It also plans to have 10%, 20% and 30% population coverage for its LTE Advanced Pro (or Lightning Fast LTE) by end 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively.

For the central region, the company hopes to have LTE, LTE-A and LTE Advanced Pro coverage of 98%, 80% and 55% by end of this year, respectively.


Hopes to grow Arpu by building a good network

By improving and expanding its network, the mobile operator will be in better position to handle the consumers' growing appetite for video content. 

A faster and stable wireless network will allow mobile users to have a better video streaming experience. With a good video experience (minimal or no downtime), consumers - hungry for more data quota - may end up signing up to data plans with more data quota.

"The past few months have been an intense period of preparation to ensure that Celcom is 'infrastructure ready' to make this exciting service available to its customers and the market. 

"Improving the network coverage, quality, reliability with a continued focus on LTE Advanced, will remain key areas of investment as the Celcom network evolves towards LTE Advanced Pro and 5G," said Azwan Khan. 

To start trial on 5G next month


Meanwhile, the company said that it will start 5G trials next month. The trials, which is likely to be done in Celcom's headquarter in Kuala Lumpur, will be useful to test the technology's potential.

Currently, the standards for 5G have yet to be determined and a commercial launch of 5G technology is expected to happen some time in 2020. 


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Malaysian telcos' Q1 2016 report card: Oh dear, oh my!

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