KUALA LUMPUR: Maxis Bhd is investing in and putting more emphasis on boosting the fourth-generation (4G) broadband cellular network connectivity in rural areas this year.
Chief executive officer Gokhan Ogut said it used the bulk of its capital expenditure (capex) of about RM1.25 billion last year for network upgrading.
"This year, we will continue to invest in capex for the purpose of upgrading the 4G network that we have, covering new coverage areas, especially in the rural areas.
"This is one of the areas we will accelerate behind the Universal Service Provision investment," he said on Bernama TV's The Nation programme titled "Enabling the Nation to Always Be Ahead” today.
Under the purview of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the Universal Service Provision programme is aimed to provide communication access to underserved areas, localities and groups within a community.
Gokhan also said the acceleration of the 4G network was crucial to support the spike in Internet usage in Malaysia as COVID-19 pushed more people to adapt to the new normal.
Asked why 4G remained crucial even as Malaysia moved towards 5G, he said: "5G is the end-goal but it will take time to be rolled out and be adapted by all Malaysians.
"We still have another 10 years that we have to continue with 4G connectivity."
Last year, Maxis customers consumed on average about 20 gigabytes of data every month, 39 per cent higher than in 2019.
He said all telecommunication providers were working together to achieve the goals set under the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (JENDELA) initiative including, among others, to sunset the 3G network by the end of this year, expand 4G coverage and strive to bring the 5G network into Malaysia.
"Maxis is ready for investment continuity in Malaysia as we have done in the last 25 years," he added. - Bernama