SABAH AND SARAWAK TO RECEIVE 100 NEW 4G LTE SITES FROM CELCOM AND ZTE

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Key highlights:

  • Key focus in 4G improvement towards 3G shutdown by year end
  • Deploying L900 technology for 100 sites in Sabah and Sarawak by year end
  • Striving together in bridging digital divide through MyBaikhati

Aligned with the nation’s digital aspiration, Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA), Celcom Axiata Berhad (Celcom) together with ZTE Corporation (ZTE), is poised to provide seamless 4G experience within Sabah and Sarawak. In preparation for the 3G network shutdown by end of this year, Celcom aims to optimise 100 sites in Sabah and Sarawak by deploying L900 technology, starting November 2021.

To reduce the digital divide by providing a better internet experience in rural areas that are harder to reach, the deployment of L900 provides a quick solution for 4G improvement and enables users with seamless connectivity. It will also provide better in-building penetrating powers, thus allowing a more robust transmission of data and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services at the 100 targeted sites.

Earlier in April 2021, Celcom and ZTE combined technology expertise and skills to successfully complete 4G LTE upgrading initiatives throughout 70 sites within Sabah and Sarawak, with the deployment of L1800 bandwidth. The upgrading initiative quickly addressed the increasing data traffic and to immediately improvise network quality within the areas involved.

The network upgrading activities also helped improve the connectivity for the schools within the areas, among others were Sekolah Kebangsaan Kukuro (22km from Beaufort), Sekolah Kebangsaan Rancangan Klias (16km to Beaufort), Sekolah Kebangsaan Nanamun (24km from Kota Belud town), and Sekolah Kebangsaan Samparita (26km to Kota Marudu). Celcom is also working with ZTE to improve coverage around six schools in rural Sarawak by the fourth quarter of the year.

Idham Nawawi, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad said that working with an experienced and skilled technological partner such as ZTE, will further accelerate Celcom efforts to greater lengths, towards supporting the Government’s JENDELA ambitions and provide consistent and inclusive connectivity for Malaysians nationwide.

Idham Nawawi, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad said that Celcom has been relentless in optimising its network coverage, capacity, and resiliency by accelerating network investments at the most needed areas, especially at the most rural parts of the country.

“We are committed in providing a consistent quality network experience for our customers, especially as the nation and industry is gearing towards the shutdown of 3G services by year end.  Having an experienced and skilled technological partner such as ZTE, will further accelerate our efforts to greater lengths, towards befitting our aspiration in supporting the Government’s JENDELA ambitions and provide consistent and inclusive connectivity for Malaysians nationwide,” Idham said.

Jikuwa bin Birula, an operations assistant for SK Samparita (Kota Marudu) said, “We are grateful to Celcom and ZTE for upgrading the cellular coverage around the school so that teachers, students, and the community can have better access to online educational resources, as well as stay connected to their loved ones with quality internet.”

Striving together in bridging the digital divide

Besides collaborating to support Malaysians with quality network coverage, Celcom and ZTE further reached out to B40 families via the #MyBaikHati device crowdsourcing programme, an industry initiative aimed to support online home-based learning for the less privileged. ZTE initiated in sourcing digital devices from its associates and contractors and handed the devices over to Celcom bluecube in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

“The pandemic has greatly affected the welfare of many Malaysians including children too. Other than #MyBaikHati, Celcom remains prihatin and committed in extending our support to bridge the digital divide, and we are glad to collaborate with ZTE in this endeavour for social and digital inclusivity. We will continue to actively support the learning process for Malaysian children through multiple initiatives and providing more affordable offerings for the less-privileged students,” Idham said.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions said, “Industry collaboration such as the one fostered by Celcom and ZTE Malaysia should be lauded, as this cements further support towards government’s aspiration for an inclusive digital connectivity and further bridging the digital gap between communities. We want to congratulate the companies, and hope for more similar industry collaborations to contribute to the betterment of society through their technological capacity as well as other relief initiatives”.  

Steven Ge, Managing Director of ZTE Malaysia said that the company is honoured to be chosen to play a role in the modernisation of Malaysia’s 4G network alongside Celcom

ZTE’s Managing Director for Malaysia, Steven Ge, said: “We are honoured to be chosen to play a role in the modernisation of Malaysia’s 4G network through Celcom. We will continue to support Celcom’s goal to connect customers through a high-quality network, wherever it may be, by jointly monitoring network optimisation, network performance and customer experience in the post-3G era to deliver an optimal experience for users. On the corporate social responsibility front, we are glad to be able to make a difference via #MyBaikHati.”

Future activities in Sabah and Sarawak

The deployment of L900 provides a quick solution for 4G improvement and enables users with seamless connectivity as it has better in-building penetrating powers, thus allowing a more robust transmission of data and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services at the 100 sites targeted.

With L900 firmly in place, ZTE will also perform exercises to combine separate carrier channels into a singular integrated channel though Carrier Aggregation (CA). CA combines two or more carrier channels (in Sabah’s case, the 900Mhz and 1,800Mhz channels) into a single aggregated channel, allowing higher throughput as well as more efficient use of the LTE spectrum. This exercise will further enable operators in reducing barriers that are caused by data fragmentation and deliver higher throughput for users, while being able to better manage interference and traffic in the network.

For an example, ZTE’s Magic Radio Solution will be able to automatically apportion the spectrum to cater for both GSM and LTE traffic. When GSM traffic is low, the spectrum will be allocated for LTE use, and vice versa. With this apportioning being continuously dynamically adjusted, it will be able to deliver optimal user experience, while the efficiency gains from this automated load balancing also translates to cost savings for operators.