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Celcom, Digi and Maxis to Develop & Share Fibre for the next 20 years

In a joint announcement last week, 3 major mobile operators – Celcom, Digi and Maxis said that they will collaborate to develop and share fibre infrastructure in Malaysia, for the next 20 years.

celcom-digi-maxis-logo fibre base station

In February 2020, the 3 companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore joint fibre infrastructure development to efficiently deploy fibre backhaul and rollout fibre to their base stations across the country.

The Telcos also said that this is to prepare their “tower infrastructure for a 5G future”.

No financial details were disclosed.

Full announcement below:

Celcom Axiata Bhd (“Celcom”), Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (“Digi”), and Maxis Berhad (“Maxis”) announced that they have concluded a Definitive Agreement to jointly develop and share fibre infrastructure, allowing for faster and more efficient deployment of fibre backhaul to base stations and avoiding duplication of fibre infrastructure in the country. This collaboration will enable improved widespread of 4G connectivity to all Malaysians and increase the country’s fibre infrastructure in line with ambitions under the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (JENDELA), as well as preparing for tower infrastructure for a 5G future.

In accelerating a joint rollout, the three operators are combining their expertise in designing, building, commissioning, operating, and maintaining related fibre infrastructure nationwide. The operators will also work on intensifying the sharing of fibre infrastructure and enhancing mutual swapping arrangements.

The collaboration essentially leverages on the strengths of fibre technology to complement microwave in providing an efficient backhaul combination. While the microwave technology will bring the advantages of fast deployment, nevertheless fibre infrastructure upgrades will enable the three operators to be better prepared for internet traffic growth especially in high impact areas. The collaboration would also allow the industry to extend 4G mobile backhaul to support 5G new sites and fibre to the home expansion.

Infrastructure, tower and bandwidth sharing among operators are a common practice. Celcom, Digi and Maxis have been engaged in fibre infrastructure sharing since 2005 with bandwidth capacity as a start, to fibre-cable sharing in 2010. Tower sharing has also been ongoing before 2000.

The announcement comes a year after the three telcos signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore leveraging each other’s resources to deploy a wider, more efficient fibre network, signifying a progress milestone in advancing Malaysia towards a digital nation with the provision of quality digital connectivity nationwide. Furthermore, as Malaysia accelerates its plan for 5G deployment as part of MyDIGITAL’s ambition, a denser, fibre-rich infrastructure will be needed to deliver 5G’s key performance indicators: low latency, higher data speeds, ultra-high reliability and capacity to manage more connected devices.

The fibre collaboration is effective for 20 years. Planning is well underway in preparation for joint build and swapping arrangements that is expected to take place hereafter. Other operators may also leverage the opportunity to tap into additional network capacity from the three telcos.

Idham Nawawi, CEO, Celcom:
This partnership marks a major milestone for Celcom in driving our ambition towards delivering a great and consistent network experience for all Malaysians. Celcom’s partnership with Maxis and Digi, who are also major telco players in the country, will result in greater cost efficiencies for network infrastructure rollouts and services nationwide, supporting the ever-increasing traffic demand. Celcom will actively continue to collaborate across various industries towards creating a ‘win-win-win’ situation that will benefit the Rakyat, the government, and the Industry.

Albern Murty, CEO, Digi:
This partnership will bring about opportunities to avoid infrastructure duplications and enable faster mobile network capacity growth through efficient fiberisation of sites. We will continue to explore synergies in our shared purpose of bringing affordable and high quality 4G connectivity to all consumers while paving the way for 5G technology and services.

Gokhan Ogut, CEO, Maxis:
We are pleased to see our collaboration progressing to the next level as it supports our collective ambition to provide fibre connectivity that is robust, pervasive, of high-quality and affordable for all Malaysians. Infrastructure sharing is key to achieving this and enabling better efficiencies especially in narrowing the digital gap and generating a constructive environment for new technologies such as 5G. We remain committed to playing a role in supporting the country’s digital ambitions.

About Kugan

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