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Better Celcom Mobile Service for Sarawakians

Celcom will be upgrading some 400 base statiosn(Node-B) in Sarawak to fiber. The mobile operator today signed an 10-year agreement with Sacofa Sdn Bhd. The agreement includes- fiberisation of all Celcom’s Node-B and Base Stations in Sarawak, the provision of trunk capacity throughout the state plus provision of cross ocean submarine capacity by Sacofa.

Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, CEO of Celcom Axiata Berhad (second from right) & Ir. Abang Jemat Abang Bujang, MD/CEO of Sacofa Sdn Bhd (second from left). Alongside them are the two witnesses namely Abdul Satar Mohamed, Chief Network Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad (far right) & Malseni Jamal, Company Secretary of Sacofa Sdn Bhd (far left)

The project is scheduled to be completed by 2013 and it will help increase Celcom’s mobile coverage to a further 20%. According to Celcom’s CEO, Sarawak contributes some 15% to Celcom’s total revenue. Currently Celcom has about 500 base stations which equals about 60-70% mobile coverage in human population(Sarawak).

Sacofa Sdn Bhd is an infrastructure provider and was formed 30-years according to its Managing Director. The company is state-owned.

The agreement is worth RM168 million, full details in the press release below:

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 APRIL 2011 – Celcom Axiata Berhad, the country’s first and foremost mobile telecommunications provider, today inked a fiberisation leasing agreement with Sacofa Sdn Bhd. The scope of this agreement includes fiberisation of all Celcom’s Node-B and Base Stations in Sarawak, the provision of trunk capacity throughout the state plus provision of cross ocean submarine capacity by Sacofa.

Signing on behalf of their respective companies were Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom and Ir Abang Jemat Abang Bujang, Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer of Sacofa, witnessed by Abdul Satar Mohamed, Chief Network Officer of Celcom and Malseni Jamal, Company Secretary of Sacofa.

“To complement our extensive range of smartphones, Celcom continues to invest heavily in building up a strong stable network to elevate customers’ experience. With the steady growth of smartphone and tablet users in the country, naturally the demand for data capacity will follow suit. The appointment of Sacofa for this project in Sarawak is in line with our aim to provide an optimum environment for our users, especially those smartphone and tablet users. With the completion of this project, Sarawakians will be able to enjoy enhanced services such as high definition (HD) voice and video plus high speed browsing with Celcom. These are backed by a better and wider coverage as this project also caters for new 2G and 3G coverage in the state thus users at the most remote areas in Sarawak will still be able to enjoy Celcom,” said Dato’ Sri Shazalli, adding that this project though with a 10 year commitment is scheduled to be completed within the next two years and is also in line with the country’s broadband aspiration to increase broadband penetration rate especially in rural areas.

“This event earmarked another success story not only for Sacofa and Celcom but also for Sarawak as a whole. The fiberisation of Celcom’s communication towers by Sacofa enable the provision of high capacity bandwidth to the base stations which will then allow for the provision of next generation network (NGN) services such as 4G (4th generation) and LTE (Long Term Evolution). This will then provide Sarawakian access to the latest high speed broadband technology at an affordable price. The availability of these towers combined with an extensive and high capacity On-land Fibre-Optic trunk and East-West Submarine Fibre-Optic Cable infrastructure which can provide planned high capacity of 400Gbps Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) transmission links ensure a greater and neutral accessibility to all broadband services. These facilitate the Government National Broadband Initiative (NBI) of expanding the accessibility of broadband services to rural areas and bridging the digital divide,” said Ir Abang Jemat.

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He added that Sacofa as a communication towers and fibre-optic infrastructure provider in Sarawak, plays a significant role in ensuring that both its towers and bandwidth are affordable and readily available to all service providers. Sacofa practices the concept of common sharing of communication towers openly on fair and equal basis to all the interested operators. This reduces the cost of constructing towers by individual operators significantly. Other than reducing deployment cost, this concept also avoids duplication in the construction of towers, speeds up the roll-out and expansion program and optimizes the usage of the communication towers by the users. In bandwidth services, Sacofa plays a significant role in ensuring affordable cost of bandwidth services in the state and expanding the State’s connectivity to the rest of the world in the near future.

It was also mentioned that 99.8% of the communication towers owned by Sacofa are being fully utilized and shared by at least two users and some towers are used by eight users. Further to that, to ensure these towers are always in good conditions, Sacofa practices a high degree of maintenance programme through regular preventive and corrective maintenance.

With all these developments and strategic initiatives, Sarawak will be able to accommodate regional and international traffic to and from Sarawak for its economic benefit, especially of its current and future investors. This will well augur for the development of information communications technology (ICT) requirements in the SCORE growth areas of Sarawak.

Other than managing and building communication towers and providing high capacity fibre-optic bandwidth services, Sacofa is in a continuous quest to transform Sarawak into a beautiful, safe and healthy city. So far, Sacofa has done it excellently by building towers in strict adherence to the Sate Planning Guidelines, introducing of aesthetic monopoles and lamp poles that blend with the city’s landscaping, sharing of towers by the industry operators to avoid duplication of infrastructures and relocating illegal, haphazard, unsafe and ugly rooftops structures.

For the past year, Celcom has embarked on various network infrastructures related projects to further cement Celcom’s commitment to provide an optimum environment for our users, especially smartphone users, ensuring their satisfaction with the provision of best voice, video, email, surfing and messaging experiences.

The most recent being the appointment of Ericsson and Huawei to provide the latest and best Single Radio Access Network (RAN) solutions to modernise Celcom’s network, propelling the company to the forefront, leading the industry in term of technology. This is a long term investment in the mobile broadband of the future whereby upon full roll-out nationwide, the company would be well-equipped to deploy future technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and are able to offer customers cutting edge mobile speed plus gradual innovative service additions, especially those that are multimedia rich and interactive.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TM with the intention to collaborate on the provision of multi-access, multimedia convergent services is a show of an innovative two-way partnership that brings together a comprehensive suite of access mediums, encompassing mobile, fiber and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) which will ultimately enhance customers’ experience and increase stakeholders’ value. Meanwhile, the agreement with DiGi to jointly implement an extensive network collaboration that paves way for immediate sharing of sites, access transmission (microwave links) and aggregation and trunk fiber transmission will result in increased operational efficiencies and significant cost savings. These then can be channeled back to the benefit of the consumers and stakeholders.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2006. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy
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