Monday, March 20, 2023

“Yes, we are gearing up to be the first to launch the LTE in Asia,” says DiGi CEO [Opinion]

In DiGi’s own world, the company believes that it will be the first Telco in Asia to launch Long Term Evolution(LTE) network. As DiGi continues to live in its own world, a number of other Asian countries have already launched commercial LTE network, some even as early as 2010.

“Yes, we are gearing up to be the first to launch the LTE in Asia,” DiGi CEO Henrik Clausen told StarBiz(Thestar) in a news report published yesterday. DiGi wants to be the first among Telenor’s other Asian operators to launch LTE. The Norway-based Telenor Group has a 49% stake in DiGi.

However such statement clearly shows that DiGi is not up for the competition as it compares itself to the small number of Telenor related operators in Asia.

Based on the latest report dated October 1 by the Global mobile Suppliers Association(GSA),  countries like Singapore(Singtel,Starhub, M1), Hong Kong, Philippines, Australia, Japan, India and South Korea already offers commercial LTE services. Last checked, these are Asian countries.

DiGi has said in December last year that it will be Malaysia’s 1st LTE-equipped network by end of 2012. However considering that Maxis and Celcom are LTE-ready right now, DiGi seems to be making claims that are not justifiable.

Maxis has over 2,500 sites that is capable of delivering backhaul speeds of up to 150Mbps which is required for LTE deployment. The operator also has more than 3,600 sites that are capable of delivering HSPA+ speeds up to 42Mbps.

Meanwhile, Celcom claims that it is capable of delivering LTE since 2010 with the implementation of single radio access network (RAN) infrastructure. Most Celcom sites are already delivering an average 100Mbps backhaul speeds with the capability of hitting up to 150Mbps.

Packet One(P1) too claims that it is LTE ready since April last year pending a simple network software upgrade. On the other hand, U Mobile is working on the installation of LTE platforms with ZTE which can support speeds up to 100 Mbps. U Mobile also has a multi-billion ringgit agreement to access Maxis’ 3G radio access networks (RAN). In simple words, U Mobile is LTE-ready since it taps into the Maxis network.

With all these development in place, it is disappointing to see that DiGi could make such claims when it does not even have a proper 3G network. Just take a look a DiGi’s Facebook page and you’ll see customers complaining about the 3G services almost everyday.

Perhaps the Communications & Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) should give DiGi a wake up call and ensure that there are no misleading information in what DiGi claims.

Unfortunately, this is not the United States where consumers voice are strong. We desperately need consumer protection agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would not hesitate to carry out their responsibilities and protect consumer rights.

But then again this is Malaysia, DiGi is free to say or claim anything they want.

[Source]– Norwegian Telenor bets on DiGi seeing DiGi as Asia’s growth driver by TheStar

[Download]– GSA reports on numbers of LTE networks worldwide

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

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