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Tuesday January 1, 2013

Maxis Bhd opened the New Year with a bang

PETALING JAYA: Maxis Bhd opened the New Year with a bang by being the first local telecommunications company (telco) to launch the 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services today, ending months of speculation surrounding the industry.

The other two biggest mobile telcos, Celcom Axiata Bhd and DiGi.com Bhd, will launch the LTE services in the first quarter of 2013, sources said.

The next to launch the service should be Celcom, which had reportedly said that it was ready to roll out the LTE this month once it got government approval, while DiGi was also said to be aiming for a first-quarter phase-one launch beginning in the Klang Valley.

True to sources' indication that only Klang Valley would be LTE-available initially, Maxis said it has rolled out its LTE service in selected parts of the Klang Valley, including Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Damansara Utama, Desa Sri Hartamas, Bandar Puchong Jaya, Bandar Sunway and Cyberjaya.

Following Klang Valley, sources said that the service would come in staggered phases in other major cities such as Penang and Johor before being available in most parts of the country towards the end of the year.

In a press statement, Maxis said that customers would enjoy speeds of up to 75Mbps, with typical average speeds of 10 to 30Mbps on its 4G LTE network.

Chief executive officer Sandip Das said: “Already, we have a rich ecosystem of beyond telecom services, from payment gateways and billing systems to entertainment and education which will grow to leverage on 4G LTE technology, responding to the need for massive amounts of information to move across space in little to no time, creating new types of collaborations and customer value.”

The availability of devices that will support the type of LTE network in Malaysia is, however, limited at the moment, Alliance Research telco analyst Too Woo Kim told StarBiz.

“I do expect the launches to be in staggered phases, but the telcos know that there are not many devices out there at the moment to utilise the LTE network once it has been launched. So far, only certain dongles will be able to fully utilise the full potential of the modern LTE network,” Too said.

“The availability of phones that can support the LTE 2.6-GHz frequency is still quite limited at the moment here but competition will gather pace once more mobile devices are rolled out, such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE.

“You have to note that Apple's iPhone 5 is not compatible with the LTE 2.6GHz, and thus, will not be able to surf on the 2.6-GHz LTE network once it is made available by our local telcos,” he added.

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