Saturday, March 01, 2003
Evolution of the Malaysian cellular sectorBY Abdul Majid Abdullah
THE cellular telephone reached Malaysian shores with the introduction of ATUR 450 by Telekom Malaysia in 1985. Then, it was the first and only nationwide cellular telephone in Malaysia. An initial investment amounting to RM52.5 million led to the establishment of a network of five mobile exchanges and 954 radio channels, with a total capacity to serve 17,000 subscribers. Atur 450 (which uses the Nordic Mobile Technology – NMT) was very successful as it was used to connect those in the rural areas of Malaysia using a 450 MHz frequency.
At one time, Atur garnered up to 10 per cent share of the cellular market, amounting to about 120,000 subscribers nationwide. In fact, using Atur, Telekom Malaysia introduced the first wireless payphone in Malaysia specially for rural areas. Even today, Atur continues to maintain a base of about 40,000 subscribers, who find the service invaluable in the remote areas of the country.