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DiGi LTE Ready Tomorrow but Maxis & Celcom LTE ready now [Opinion]

In a recent interview last month, DiGi said that its 3G network now covers 60% of the population in Malaysia.

“Today, we have 3G sites covering about 60% of the population, and DiGi hopes to push it to about 70% in the first half of next year. For data, the coverage is about 95% of the population, including both 2G and 3G sites,” chief marketing officer Albern Murty told StarBizWeek.

Since December 2011, DiGi has been “upgrading” its over 5,000 base station which has affected a number of its voice and data customers throughout the year 2012. Unfortunately, the “upgrade” will continue this year as there are still more than 2,500 remaining DiGi sites with outdated network equipment. It also appears that some customers continue to experience poor service at areas where the sites have been upgraded, especially in the Klang Valley.

DiGi claims that its “Tomorrow Network” will be Malaysia’s 1st LTE-equipped network when launched. However Maxis was 1st in Malaysia to launch LTE on New Year(early this week) while Celcom is set to offer LTE service starting tomorrow(Friday).

DiGi is also currently the slowest mobile broadband provider in the country among the three main Telcos. Its larger base of prepaid customers are limited to slow speeds of up to 384Kbps with no options to upgrade while the operator don’t really disclose its broadband speed for postpaid data plans.

On the DiGi website, there are no clear details on speed for the DiGi Postpaid Broadband plans, only the following statement- “The speed of your Broadband service is provided on a best-effort basis” which is hidden in the terms and condition. However only in the DiGi Online Store it is stated that “Broadband by DiGi supports speeds up to 3.6Mbps with a Likely Average Speed of 700kbps (d/l)“.

As for its Postpaid Tablet Plans, DiGi claims to offer speeds up to 3Mbps, which is only mentioned in the FAQ section.

In comparison, the Maxis Broadband plans comes with speeds up to 42Mbps and has better 3G coverage natiowide. Celcom Broadband plans comes with speeds up to 7.2Mbps and has 3G coverage that is as good as Maxis. Both Celcom and Maxis each have more than 7,000 3G base station(about 80% coverage) compared to DiGi’s 2,000-3,000 3G sites with weak indoor coverage.

As Maxis and Celcom continues to perform better than DiGi in terms of product offering, service and coverage, Albern made the following statement:

“The investment of between RM700mil and RM750mil this year is part of our telecommunication network investment to provide customers with better Internet experience and to differentiate ourselves from other telco players in the market. We will continue to upgrade the company’s network for better speed and data, including long-term evolution or 4G services, in 2013.”

In comparison, Maxis and Celcom each spends about RM1 billion a year on “telecommunication network investment’. Over the next three years alone for LTE, Maxis is committed for a RM500 milion investment while Celcom would invest RM300 million.

The full article on DiGi can be found at the link below.

[Link]– TheStar

About Kugan

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