U Mobile continues to ramp up 4G

The new 4G sites are not the end of the telco’s expansion in the area of 4G network technology

By MARK RAO / Pic By TMR

U Mobile Sdn Bhd will upgrade over 2,000 4G broadband cellular network sites and expand indoor coverage starting this year to improve its long-term evolution (LTE) capacity for better user experience.

The telecommunication company (telco) added over 2,000 new 4G sites in the past year as part of an aggressive network expansion, bringing its 4G coverage in Peninsular Malaysia to about 90% today.

This is part of the RM5 billion expenditure announced by the telco back in December last year to build a new and improved network to better serve its customers.

U Mobile CTO Woon Ooi Yuen said the new 4G sites added over the past year are not the end of the company’s expansion in the area of 4G network technology.

“This year, we put a plan that we are starting to execute…we are actually upgrading more than 2,000 sites to ensure that we have capacity for LTE (and) give a better experience.

“There are areas where we need to improve in terms of indoor coverage experience. So, we are expanding more than 1,000 sites in the new coverage footprint nationwide,” he said after a launching ceremony in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Woon said U Mobile’s 4G coverage was tested at an average 10Mbps to 30Mbps between peak and non-peak hours, while all mobile applications were used without disruptions.

As it stands, Penang and Melaka are the company’s biggest 4G network coverage markets at 98% of the total respective populations, followed by Kuala Lumpur and Selangor which see a combined 90% coverage.

Currently, U Mobile’s 4G network is not available in Sabah and Sarawak, but it is expected to come online in East Malaysia after the telco’s Radio Access Network (RAN) share agreement with Maxis Bhd expires in June this year.

“As for East Malaysia, we are expecting to exit the RAN share by the end of June (this year), and then we have 4G coverage in East Malaysia. That is the timeline,” Woon said.

Its chief marketing officer Jasmine Lee Sze Inn (picture) said 5G is a long-term play for the industry as the government has indicated a three-year timeline before the technology is implemented in real life situations.

“In terms of commercially launching it, this depends on the whole industry. The government needs to work together to deal with the spectrum, licence and (engage) with more industry players related to 5G,” she said.