Modernising the nations 4G network with ZTE


(From left) Kesavan and Steven Ge share insights to Digi and ZTE’s collaboration.

Digi and ZTE continue upgrading 4G infrastructure for better mobile data experience

PRESENT 4G technology has enabled Malaysians to connect with each other and the world.

This empowering technology has also opened doors of opportunities for locals as they are expected to generate some RM29bil in value added to the country by 2023, according to a GMSA study in 2018.

With the possibility to inject a positive impact on the country's economy, there are ongoing upgrades to its existing wireless mobile infrastructure.

To fulfil such digital aspirations of 4G coverage nationwide, on Oct 15, 2020, Digi announced a partnership with ZTE for its nationwide Radio Access Network (RAN) modernisation as part of Digi’s continuous effort to enhance its network and deliver enhanced customer experience.

Modernising Malaysia

To meet customers’ growing demand for higher data speed and smoother Internet experiences, this initiative would upgrade Digi’s RAN with the latest technology evolution that supports higher downlink and uplink throughput as well as lower latency.

ZTE fulfills this solution by installing equipment that has higher processing capabilities with new features such as Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, multi–carrier aggregation, Massive MIMO, and Cellular Internet of Things (C-IoT).

This comes after the announcement in 2020 that Malaysia will be retiring its 3G network, or what is also known as 3G sunsetting, by the end of 2021.

The country would shift focus on enhancing the 4G experience for users – who can expect to enjoy noticeable improvements such as higher data speed, lower latency, as well as improved network reliability and stability – as more spectrum previously occupied by 3G are being gradually released to the use of 4G.

To this end, ZTE recently completed its first 3G sunset trials by providing input to refarm the L21 spectrum to full 15Mhz, which boosted the performance of Digi’s 4G network in the vicinity of the trial sites.

3G sunsetting

The 3G network sunsetting is part of Jalinan Digital Negara, or Jendela’s plans to bring quality connectivity to all Malaysians – spearheaded by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in collaboration with telecommunication players across the industry.

Digi chief technology officer Kesavan Sivabalan said: “Our priority remains in delivering quality connectivity and Internet experience for our customers. Throughout the pandemic, we ensured that Digi’s network and connectivity service levels are maintained.

“Additionally, we continue to stay focused on delivering our Jendela commitments to further improve our network performance by upgrading current 4G sites, as well as expanding our coverage areas with new site rollouts.”

Digi’s 4G LTE and LTE-A network coverage now serves 92% and 75% of the population nationwide respectively. It is also Malaysia’s fastest mobile operator as reported in Ookla’s Q2 2021 speed test ranking.

Kesavan added that by continuously modernising their network, Digi is delivering speed, efficiency and agility that is critical for its day-to-day operations. At the same time, the modernised and efficient network will also enable Digi to be future-ready.

It is inevitable that Malaysia’s communications infrastructure would need to grow. In modernising the 4G network, ZTE is incorporating AI-driven technology to reduce reliance on manpower and a host of tedious manual processes that are time-consuming and often inflexible.

Furthermore, the use of AI technology also results in a lower carbon emission footprint, contributing to the crucial realisation of Digi’s environment, social and governance (ESG) aspirations.

“ZTE has introduced solutions that encompass greater automation and increasing reliance on AI to yield dividends for mobile operators,” said ZTE managing director for Malaysia Steven Ge.

“We will continue to support our partner’s ambitions such as Digi’s goal to connect customers through a high-quality network alongside their need to be a responsible corporate citizen.

“The ongoing modernisation will allow Digi to have a highly-sophisticated 4G LTE network that will deliver a far superior performance to support customers’ increasing demand for quality connectivity.”

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