Celcom to upgrade network, with focus on rural areas

Celcom plans to upgrade around 8,300 network sites by August next year, as it faces a 40% increase in network traffic over the pandemic period. — AFP

Celcom Axiata Bhd will be upgrading around 8,300 network sites by August next year, to improve coverage and keep up with increasing Internet demand.

The telco announced a plan to upgrade a total of 4,700 network sites by February 2021, with 49% located in urban areas and 51% in rural areas, including 1,000 4G network sites located in Sabah and Sarawak.

Upgrading and optimisation works will also continue for an additional 3,600 network sites nationwide, targeted to be completed by August 2021.

Celcom Axiata Bhd CEO Idham Nawawi said upgrading works were planned to ensure minimal impact on the network’s services.

“These improvements also focus on delivering better in-building coverage from 4G LTE base station towers, a wider 4G coverage in rural areas, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, and improved download speeds,” he said.

This would enable the delivery of high definition (HD) 720p video experience for more customers and an improved voice quality for Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) calls, he added.

The company plans to make approximately RM256mil of network investments from 2020 into early 2021, to upgrade its network capacity. This would be further supported by the allocated capital expenditures in the 2021 financial year.

Celcom recorded a 40% increase in data traffic in 2020’s third quarter compared to 2019’s fourth quarter.

“As Malaysians are doing their part by staying safe during the pandemic, more consumers have been utilising digital services to carry out activities for education, entertainment, business and more,” said Idham, in a press release.

He revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order (MCO) have had some effect on the company’s efforts on the ground, but it was working on overcoming these issues.

Currently, Celcom’s network has over 11,500 sites nationwide, serving over 13 million users, he added.

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