Monday, January 30, 2023

5 Questions with Kesavan Sivabalan, Digi’s Chief Network Officer

Digi appointed Kesavan Sivabalan as Chief Network Officer (CNO) in April this year.

Kesavan Sivabalan the new Digi Chief Network Officer (CNO)
Kesavan Sivabalan the new Digi Chief Network Officer (CNO)

As Chief Network Officer (CNO), Sivabalan was previously Head of Technology Operations. He has been given the mandate to build a best in class network, and drive network quality, stability and security to further enhance customer experience.

MalaysianWireless sent him 5 questions, and here are the replies.

1. Digi recently announced that it has a 50% 4G LTE human population coverage, can you share how this (coverage) was measured?

Kesavan Sivabalan: Our nationwide 4G LTE footprint now stands at 60%. We calculate population coverage based on a good 4G LTE signal strength level of -110 dBm at our cell edge mapped against the population of Malaysia.

We designed our network to deliver a minimum signal strength quality of -110dbm. This means, customers are able to experience a minimum signal strength of -110dBm at the edge of our 4G LTE coverage, that is before they are handed over to the next cell tower or switched over to 3G. The closer our customers are to the cell tower, the higher the signal strength they will experience. At -110dBm, we deliver a good, consistent internet experience of more than 5 Mbps, 80% of the time. This signal strength is a regionally accepted best practice which operators in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore also adopt. We are confident on our network performance and this is our assurance to our customers.

2. What are your plans to improve the 3G network, in terms of speed (or is it fast enough already)?

Kesavan Sivabalan: Our customers enjoy a consistent 3G internet experience of a minimum 1 Mbps, 80% of the time. Our continuous optimisation efforts and capacity upgrades ensure we keep this experience consistent bearing circumstantial network conditions, coverage and devices used.

Looking at customers’ internet usage trends, we believe these speeds are sufficient for all our customers want to do on the internet. For example, messaging, web browsing and music streaming applications require up to 1Mbps, while video streaming requires between 1Mbps to 3Mbps.

Higher data users can enjoy a more advance internet experience in terms of speed and latency with our 4G LTE service.

3. What type of complaints/feedback do you hear from subscribers, how do you deal with them?

Kesavan Sivabalan: Operators generally receive two main types of complaints: challenges on coverage, related to indoor experiences and network outages, and on quality, related to voice and internet service challenges.

We have a thorough and specific end-to-end complaints resolution process and the timeline varies depending on the complexity of each case. As we have a strong focus on customer experience management, to the best of our ability, we work to respond in the shortest time possible to all our customers to acknowledge their feedback or query while we work to resolve these issues for them.

4. What are the challenges faced by the Digi Network team now?

Kesavan Sivabalan: Our aim is always to deliver the best internet experience possible for more Malaysians to enjoy. We have always proven to take challenges in stride to meet our customers’ growing appetite for more data, and have the ability to do more with less by optimising our assets to build a robust network that delivers on this promise.

(Note: Kesavan did not answer question No.4, we published what was replied)

5. What are your targets for 4G LTE coverage by end of next year and what are your thoughts on 5G?

Kesavan Sivabalan: As per the norm, we do not share projections. We believe the internet is for everyone and our commitment to our customers is that we will continue fast-tracking our network rollout so more Malaysians in more areas nationwide can benefit from being connected to high-speed internet on-the-go.

We have and continue to build a future-ready network that will enable us to offer next-generation services and technologies to our customers. For example, we are already working to bring Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and Voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) services, and compatible 4G LTE smartphones to customers in 2016. We will get to 5G at the appropriate time.

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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