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U Mobile to end Domestic Roaming Agreement with Celcom?

There have been media reports that U Mobile may terminate its 2G domestic roaming agreement with Celcom Axiata and switch to Maxis instead.

Based on an unconfirmed report from CIMB Research, U Mobile has reportedly requested for the termination of its domestic roaming deal with Celcom, and is switching to Maxis.

Quoting a source, the finance section of NST newspaper reported that U Mobile has given six months’ notice for the termination of its 2G domestic roaming deal with Celcom. The roaming may be terminated earlier if both parties agree to it. The source is expecting this to take place in September.

MalaysianWireless has reached out to U Mobile for a quick comment. U Mobile did not deny or confirm the reports but said that it is still roaming with Celcom. The current domestic roaming agreement with Celcom is valid until 1 July 2013.

U Mobile and Celcom both signed a voice-only domestic agreement in June 2007 which is for 3 years. U Mobile was known as MiTV at that time. In December 2009 however, U Mobile announced DiGi as its new domestic roaming partner(story here). The partnership with DiGi allows prepaid and postpaid U Mobile subscribers to roam on the DiGi 2G network for voice and data at no additional cost.

Despite valid for 3 years, the roaming agreement with DiGi did not happen. U Mobile has declined to comment on this. The agreement with Celcom was then extended to another 3-years starting from July 2010. The current roaming agreement with Celcom includes voice and data.

While it has yet to be confirmed that Maxis is U Mobile’s new roaming partner, it makes sense for U Mobile as both operators have entered into a multi-billion ringgit agreement to share Maxis’ 3G radio access networks (RAN) with U Mobile. The 2G domestic roaming agreement with Maxis would probably allow U Mobile to save cost.

There are some 1,900 U Mobile 3G base station nationwide. The 3G partnership with Maxis allows U Mobile further expand the network coverage to 4000 base stations by 2013.

U Mobile is believed to have some 2 million customers now. The 3G operator is currently 33 per cent owned by Singapore Technologies Telemedia (ST Telemedia). The remaining share are owned by Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s U
Television Sdn Bhd(62%) and Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd(5%).

[Source]– Business Times

[PDF Report]– CIMB Research

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy