Strategic Partnerships for Advanced Network Integration
CelcomDigi, a major Malaysian telecom operator, has announced significant partnerships with Huawei Technologies and ZTE. These agreements focus on acquiring network services, solutions, and equipment for a comprehensive network integration and modernization project across Malaysia.
Modernizing for the Digital Age
The project, launched following the December 2022 merger of Celcom and Digi, aims to integrate and modernize CelcomDigi’s 4G network using the latest LTE and 5G-ready technologies. The initiative will involve the upgrade and consolidation of nearly 25,000 existing Celcom and Digi sites nationwide.
Engineering a Nationwide Network Upgrade
This ambitious upgrade will be supported by close to 800 engineers and over 250 specialized contractor teams across the country. CelcomDigi’s collaboration with Huawei and ZTE will focus on modernizing its nationwide Radio Access Network (RAN) using a range of advanced equipment and services from both Chinese vendors.
Technological Enhancements and Network Expansion
The technology solutions from Huawei and ZTE will leverage CelcomDigi’s existing spectrum. This includes the deployment of the latest tri-band and dual-band radio units, as well as baseband radio units. Both vendors will also oversee network densification and site upgrade projects.
A Vision for a Digital-Forward Malaysia
CelcomDigi’s CEO, Datuk Idham Nawawi, expressed that this modernized network is pivotal for meeting customer expectations, maintaining a competitive edge, and catering to the evolving digital landscape. Nawawi emphasized that the integrated network is essential for driving CelcomDigi’s goal to become a digital growth engine in Malaysia, supporting the coexistence and evolution of 4G/LTE and future technologies, including 5G.
Preparing for a Seamless Transition to 5G
The new network is designed for a potential smooth transition into a 5G network, aiming to cover 18,000 sites. This upgrade is expected to improve network reach from 96% to 98% of populated areas in Malaysia.
Background on the Merger and 5G Developments
The merger of Celcom and Digi in December 2022, facilitated by Axiata Group and Telenor Group, resulted in equal ownership of Celcom Digi by both entities. This merger coincides with Malaysian mobile operators, including Celcom Digi, acquiring stakes in the state-owned 5G operator, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB). DNB, established by the Malaysian government, has already achieved 64.7% 5G coverage in populated areas and is expected to continue its rollout to reach 80% coverage by the end of the year. Additionally, a second 5G network is set to be deployed in 2024, marking another significant step in Malaysia’s telecommunications evolution.