Celcom Axiata Berhad announced that it built 250 new Telecommunication sites and optimised some 8,000 site with improved 4G coverage and capacity across the country, to date in 2021.
However details of the “optimisation” was not shared with MalaysianWireless when requested.
The Telco said network investments have rapidly increased 4G LTE human population coverage especially in Sabah, Pahang, Terengganu, Sarawak, Negeri Sembilan and Kedah, over the past 9 months.
Celcom claims it has achieved an average of more than 94% 4G LTE population coverage nationwide with 9 states at 98% population coverage or higher. Celcom’s nationwide improvement works involved among others, more than 1800 sites in Sabah and Sarawak which saw an increased 4G LTE population coverage by 6pp and 1.9pp, respectively, it said. Detailed coverage statistic by state were not revealed.
In October 2021, Celcom and ZTE Corporation (ZTE) jointly announced that they will deploy 100 new 4G LTE sites in Sabah and Sarawak, starting November 2021, using L900 (Band 8, 900Mhz) technology. Both Telcos also said they have worked together in April 2021 to upgrade 70 sites across Sabah and Sarawak with the deployment of L1800 (Band 3, 1800Mhz) technology.
The Telco is improving its 4G LTE network in preparation for the scheduled nationwide 3G network shut down by the end of this year. However, when asked, Celcom did not say when it will start using all its ‘vacant’ 3G spectrum for 4G services.
To date, Celcom said it has already shut down the 3G network in a number of areas including in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya Pahang, Perak, Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu, Johor, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan. It is currently shutting the 3G network in the following areas:
- Sabah – Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Sandakan, Penampang, Papar, Putatan, Kudat, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Ranau, Tawau, Semporna, Sipitang, Keningau, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Pitas, Kinabatangan, Beluran, Tongod, Beaufort, Tenom, Kuala Penyu, Tambunan, Nabawan
- Wilayah Persekutuan – Labuan
Celcom said these 4G network improvements addressed the rapid increase in data traffic that recorded more than 54.3% YoY growth with 581.9 million GB in 3Q21 compared to 377.2 million GB in 3Q20. Data usage per month per user increased by 37.3% YoY with 25.4 GB per month per user as compared to 18.5GB per month per user a year earlier. Celcom also increased overall network capacity to 1.6Tbps compared to 810Gbps in January 2020.
Celcom’s network currently caters over 14 million users, including Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) users.