Subscribers to gain from Maxis network upgrade

  • TECH
  • Friday, 21 May 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Maxis Bhd is spending RM1.4bil to upgrade its cellular network, promising its 12 million subscribers nationwide improved call quality, wider coverage and faster mobile access to the Internet.

After the upgrade is completed this year, it will also be able to offer next-generation products and services, such as 3G wireless access on the 900MHz spectrum and High-Speed Packet Access + (HSPA+) technology.

What this will translate to for subscribers is clearer voice calls, smoother running video calls, and an all round improvement to websurfing via smartphones and other devices.

“We will provide more customers with the ultimate in mobility and seamless access to rich content and services, anywhere they are and on any device,” said Mark Dioguardi, executive vice-president for network and technology at Maxis.

With the improvements to its network, Maxis aims to reach 80% 3G coverage of the country by year end, up from the 60% recorded in January.

This is good news for Malaysians who are waiting for Apple’s iPad tablet computer to get here, expecially the 3G version that will free its users from only being able to surf the Web from a WiFi hotspot to truly anytime, anywhere access.

It is widely speculated that that version of the iPad will be offered by Maxis, which already pushes Apple’s iPhone in the country, as does rival DiGi Telecommunications. The speculation increased when Maxis recently announced support for the micro SIM format that is used by the iPad 3G and one other device.

According to Dioguardi, it used to be that 80% of the cellular network was for voice calls and the remaining 20% for data services. “But now that has been reversed (as more people take to accessing the Internet from phones and other portables),” he said.

Future proofing

The other developments taking place at Maxis include an initiative to test Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology. The trial is expected to begin in the next month or two; Dioguardi declined to provide more details on the programme.

LTE is a fourth-generation wireless technology that was first deployed internationally by TeliaSonera in Stockholm and Oslo at the end of last year. It touts a peak download speed of 100 megabits per second on mobile phones. At that speed, a high-definition movie (8 gigabytes in size) would download in 11 minutes.

Maxis is also in the midst of testing fibre-to-the-home technology; it wants to exploit the 10,000km of fibre-optic cable that is already in place in the country. This would mean improved and speedier Internet connections to homes.

Also, Maxis is going to work with Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) to using electrical power lines as a means to bring the Internet to more homes, particularly those in the rural areas.

It is also discussing with TNB the stringing of fibre-optic cables along electrical poles to homes and offices, especially where it would be costly to run the cables on the ground.

Until now, Maxis has installed fibre-optic cables to 400 buildings in the Klang Valley and will expand these connections to include Johor Baru and Penang.


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