Local mobile operator, U Mobile announced today that it will be terminating its network agreement with Maxis, which will be completed by December 2018.
In October 2011, Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd (Maxis) and U Mobile Sdn Bhd (U Mobile) entered into a multi-billion ringgit agreement to share Maxis’ 3G radio access networks (RAN) with U Mobile. Basically, via the agreement, selected Maxis base station will start using U Mobile’s 3G frequency. This allows U Mobile to offer 3G coverage for voice and data to its customers via Maxis radio network. At that time, according to Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Chairman of U Mobile Sdn Bhd, the RAN sharing with Maxis will allow cost saving for U Mobile of RM2 billion over the next 10 years. He pointed to MalaysianWireless that the saving translates in to an average RM200 million a year.
The agreement was valid for 10 years, which is supposed to end in 2021.
U Mobile said that it is ending the deal with Maxis to focus on expanding its own network, with the additional spectrum of 2x15MHz of 1800MHz bands and 2x5MHz of 900MHz bands that were awarded by the government last year. The additional 1800MHz was made available on 1 April 2017 whilst the 900MHz will be made available on 1 July 2017. “We are currently upgrading our owned networks progressively to support these new spectrum bands so that our customers can enjoy an enhanced network experience when the spectrum bands are turned on and the upgrade is complete,” it said in a media statement.
“This notice to terminate the RAN share agreement is not expected to impact our customers’ network experience or our service quality to our customers. We expect to be able to replace the RAN share sites within the stipulated timeline as we continue with our planned network investment program. U Mobile customers can look forward to an enhanced network experience and coverage once the exercise is complete.”
In 2015, U Mobile claimed to have 95% population coverage from a combination of over 10,000 sites of 3G and 4G LTE own-built, 3G RAN share and 2G Domestic Roaming with Maxis. To break it down, in 2015, U Mobile had 2552 3G base station, 51 4G LTE sites, 1673 3G RAN sharing sites with Maxis and more than 4000 Maxis 2G sites for domestic roaming.
It added another 1,000 new 3G sites and 1,000 new 4G LTE sites in 2015, covering Wilayah Persekutuan, Selangor, Seremban, Port Dickson, Nilai, Ipoh, Lumut, Penang, Johor Bahru, Muar, Kluang, Segamat and Batu Pahat.
Between 2015 to 2020, U Mobile plans to deploy 5,000 more new sites (base station), all over Malaysia (including Sabah & Sarawak), comprising 3G (60%) and 4G LTE (40%) sites.
The 3G RAN sharing with Maxis covered major cities and towns including Kangar, Alor Star, Kota Bahru, Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak. U Mobile has its own 3G & 4G base stations in Klang Valley including Negeri Sembilan and other states such as Johor, Penang and in Perak. Over the past year, U Mobile have been aggressively building its own network infrastructure in areas covered by the Maxis RAN sharing agreement.
The U Mobile-Maxis network sharing termination will take place in stages over a period of 18 months with completion on 27 December 2018.