Celcom Axiata confident of increasing LTE coverage to 85%

KUALA LUMPUR: Celcom Axiata Bhd is confident of increasing its LTE (4G mobile network) population coverage to 85% by the year-end from 77% now, said chief executive officer Michael Kuehner.

He said the company had allocated RM1.5 billion as capital expenditure (capex), of which RM400 million had been used during the first two quarters of 2017.

"Our capex remains at RM1.5 billion for this year, and we are investing around RM1 billion for ongoing network expansion, which is within the approved budget,” he said at a media briefing on Celcom's second-quarter business update in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

Kuehner said the company's quarterly performance showed positive signs of further stabilisation in an increasingly saturated industry.

He noted that Celcom had improved in terms of addressing consumers' needs and that the company had streamlined its financial and operational management.

On the recent spectrum refarming project, Kuehner said Celcom had formed a high-calibre cross-functional team, ahead of the deadline set by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

The team completed the first phase of the project delivered in March and the second at end-June.

"The telecommunication spectrum refarming of the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequencies will enhance network services at affordable rates in the urban and rural areas," he said, adding that the exercise covered 7,400 sites in six regions.

Chief financial officer Jennifer Wong said the ongoing cost optimisation efforts under the company's transformational “Accelerated Cost Efficiency” programme was expected to strengthen the company's profitability.

Celcom's service revenue and total revenue roses quarter-on-quarter by 1.4% to RM1.495 billion and 0.7% to RM1.621 billion, respectively. - Bernama
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