Malaysia’s largest operators Celcom Axiata, Digi Telecommunications, Maxis and U Mobile, hailed their collective efforts to achieve hit 96.9% coverage of 4G in the country, exceeding a government target.
In a joint statement, the operators have said they were working under the government’s 2020 national digital infrastructure plan Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA), an initiative designed to boost more efficient use of national infrastructure and spectrum.
Findings were revealed at a JENDELA media briefing revealed the operators upgraded 13,807 base stations to 4G, built 250 new 4G towers to reach 95.4% of population coverage, “exceeding” 2021 targets.
The operators said their collaboration has been “instrumental” in enabling mobile coverage rollout and effectively addresses the issue of building out in rural and remote areas.
Network sharing among operators has been in practice since 2005 in Malaysia, recent efforts have particularly boosted 4G coverage in remote locations with minimal resources from operators, saving valuable capacity for eventual 5G launches.
The operator used a radio access network sharing mechanism called MOCN which enables operators to share the same RAN or mobile coverage. By tapping into each other’s networks coverage is enhanced and demonstrates the feasibility of sharing in the 5G era to accelerate coverage.
Celcom Axiata, Maxis and Digi have already paid the country's telecoms regulator to secure spectrum for commercial 5G launches.