Big 3 telcos collaborate to develop, share fibre

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by BLOOMBERG

TELECOMMUNICATIONS companies (telcos) Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd and Maxis Bhd yesterday agreed to jointly develop and share fibre infrastructure ahead of the government’s plan to roll out 5G network in select areas by the end of the year.

The three companies, in a joint statement, said the new infrastructure will allow faster and more efficient deployment of fibre backhaul to base stations.

The collaboration will enable improved widespread 4G connectivity to Malaysians, increase the country’s fibre infrastructure and prepare for tower infrastructure for a 5G future, in line with the National Digital Infrastructure Plan.

Celcom CEO Mohamad Idham Nawawi said the company’s partnership with Maxis and Digi will result in greater cost efficiencies for network infrastructure rollouts and services nationwide, supporting increasing traffic demand.

“Celcom will actively continue to collaborate across various industries towards creating a ‘win-win-win’ situation that will benefit the rakyat, the government and the industry,” Mohamad Idham said.

Digi CEO Albern Murty said the partnership will bring about opportunities to avoid infrastructure duplications and enable faster mobile network capacity growth through efficient fiberisation of sites.

“We will continue to explore synergies in our shared purpose of bringing affordable and high-quality 4G connectivity to all consumers while paving the way for 5G technology and services,” he said.

Maxis CEO Gokhan Ogut said infrastructure sharing is key to achieving high-quality connectivity and enabling better efficiencies, especially in narrowing the digital gap and generating a constructive environment for new technologies.

The three operators are combining their expertise in designing, building, commissioning, operating and maintaining related fibre infrastructure nationwide.

In accelerating a joint roll out, they will also work on intensifying the sharing of fibre infrastructure and enhancing mutual swapping arrangements.

The collaboration essentially leverages the strengths of fibre technology to complement microwave in providing an efficient backhaul combination.

It said while microwave technology will bring the advantages of fast deployment, fibre infrastructure upgrades will enable the three operators to be better prepared for Internet traffic growth especially in high impact areas.

The collaboration will also allow the industry to extend 4G mobile backhaul to support 5G new sites and fibre to the home expansion.

Celcom, Digi and Maxis have been engaged in fibre infrastructure sharing since 2005, with bandwidth capacity as a start to fibre-cable sharing in 2010. Tower sharing has also been ongoing before 2000.

The announcement comes a year after the three telcos signed a memorandum of understanding to explore leveraging each other’s resources to deploy a wider, more efficient fibre network, signifying a progress milestone in advancing Malaysia towards a digital nation with the provision of quality digital connectivity nationwide.

As Malaysia accelerates its plan for 5G deployment as part of MyDigital’s ambition, a denser, fibre-rich infrastructure will be needed to deliver 5G’s key performance indicators: Low latency, higher data speed, ultra-high reliability and capacity to manage more connected devices.

“The fibre collaboration is effective for 20 years. Planning is well underway in preparation for joint build and swapping arrangements that are expected to take place hereafter.

“Other operators may also leverage opportunity to tap into additional network capacity from the three telcos,” it added.


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