Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Celcom didn’t improve its 4G Coverage since September 2021

Mobile 4G coverage in Malaysia were expected to improve following the shut down of 3G networks in Malaysia. However, Celcom’s 4G LTE coverage remains unchanged since 3Q21 despite it shut down the majority of its 3G network towards the end of 2021.


As of December 2021, Celcom’s 4G population coverage was at 94% nationwide, unchanged since September 2021 and a 2% increase in the year.

But this isn’t the first time it reported a 94% 4G coverage.

Celcom reached a 94% nationwide 4G coverage back in September 2020. However the Telco reported a 2% drop in human population 4G coverage between a 3-months period from October to December 2020. It did not reveal the reason behind this.

Below are the numbers that Celcom reported for its 4G ‘Human Population’ Coverage since 2020:

  • January – March 2020: 93%
  • April – June 2020: 93%
  • July – September 2020: 94%
  • October – December 2020: 92%
  • January – March 2021: 93%
  • April – June 2021: 93%
  • July – September 2021: 94%
  • October – December 2021: 94%

Celcom initiated a nationwide 3G network shut down last year which would improve the coverage and performance of its 4G network for all customers. It discontinued the 3G networks in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and in parts of Selangor, Pahang and Perak in November last year. At the time of writing, MalaysianWireless notes that Celcom has yet to fully utilised and refarm all its 3G spectrum to 4G.

Meanwhile, 90% of the Celcom 4G network has LTE-A capabilities with a minimum 2CA, a 9% increase since March 2019.

  • January – March 2019: 81%
  • April – June 2019: 81%
  • July – September 2019: 81%
  • October – December 2019: 81%
  • January – March 2020: 81%
  • April – June 2020: 81%
  • July – September 2020: 84%
  • October – December 2020: 86%
  • January – March 2021: 89%
  • April – June 2021: 90%
  • July – September 2021: 90%
  • October – December 2021: 90%

Celcom does not breakdown its 4G LTE-A coverage by its CA capabilities.

In the past, Celcom reported a 98% nationwide coverage for 2G. It now uses the same set of frequencies for 4G networks. The Telco uses the 900Mhz, 1800Mhz, 2100Mhz and 2600Mhz bands for 4G service. Meanwhile, 2G networks are deployed on 900Mhz and 1800Mhz bands, with minimum spectrum utilisation.

According to Axiata in its latest 4Q21 financial results, “Celcom invested approximately RM1 billion into its network and systems to support the 1.8 million subscriber and utilisation growth since the pandemic began in 1Q20.”

In 4Q21, Celcom’s network cost spending was the lowest in the year representing 14.5% of revenue but higher than 4Q20 (12.6% of the revenue).

There are 14 million subscribers using the Celcom 2G and 4G network, including MVNOs (such as Tune Talk, redone), partners and Celcom mobile customers.

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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