PROVIDING additional coverage in the Kuala Lumpur, Cyberjaya and Putrajaya areas is something Digi.com Bhd had planned to do this year.
So when the government set Time 1, they were unfazed for the arrangements had been made, equipment catered for, budgets allocated. Despite that, Time 1 is still viewed as a challenging deadline.
“The main obstacles in trying to complete Time 1 is the acquisition of land for the cellular transmission sites and getting the necessary approval,” said DiGi outgoing CEO Tore Johnsen in an interview, adding that DiGi only needed to set up 80 more sites to meet the timeline.
“Infrastructure is important for the country to grow and to have good telecoms services, we need coverage and quality, and we need to put antennas so that users can communicate. You cannot get coverage without the infrastructure.
“That is why we need help and support from the government to put it up. We are willing to put in the money to increase coverage,” he said.
He cited the example of Norway where the federal government and local authorities take a pro-active approach in the interest of the nation to help roll out telecom services by facilitating and expediting the approval processes.
He does not deny that the Energy, Water and Communications Minister and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission have been very supportive but the support from the different states would really help operators as they try to meet the two timelines set by the government. “We will do our part and others should do their part,” he said.
He did not want to comment on the Time 2 timeline as the government had yet to clarify the definition.
But if it made business sense, DiGi would continue to invest to expand coverage nationwide, he said.
DiGi’s cellular coverage for populated areas was about 70% and it has 2,500 transmission sites installed.
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