Malaysia's CelcomDigi close to 50% done with its network modernization

CelcomDigi says it is nearly halfway done with the integration and modernization of its mobile network nationwide, which aims to turn the Malaysian operator into the 'digital growth engine' of the country.

Gigi Onag, Senior Editor, APAC

May 17, 2024

2 Min Read
CelcomDigi headquarters in Malaysia
(Source: CelcomDigi)

Malaysia's CelcomDigi said it is nearly halfway done with the integration and modernization of its mobile network across the country, putting it ahead of schedule in its three-year post-merger transformation plan.

The telco operator said it has completed nearly 44% of the project at the end of April 2024, upgrading more than 7,200 sites nationwide. The company added the network upgrade has improved download speed in those areas by between 20% and 26% and enhanced signal strength by between 13% and 16%.

The company expects that by the end of June it will pass the 50% completion mark in four states, and 60% in three states, as well as complete the project in Penang.

The telco's integration and modernization project was launched in June 2023, seven months after the merger of Celcom Axiata and Digi Telecommunications was approved by the boards of both companies in November 2022.  The nationwide network upgrade is set for completion in 2026.

"This new network is designed to potentially transition seamlessly into a new 5G network with an 18,000-site reach – the right infrastructure to usher Malaysia into the era of ultra-high speeds, low latency, and the opportunities of a more connected future,'' CelcomDigi CEO Datuk Idham Nawawi said in a press release.

Building a 5G-ready network

The telco operator has forked out 4 billion Malaysian ringgit (US$852.75 million) for the project, with the goal of turning CelcomDigi into a "digital growth engine" for the country.

"We are working with strategic partners to trial 5.5G technologies and new use cases for enhanced digital experiences for Malaysian enterprises and consumers," Nawawi said.

CelcomDigi said 86% of its upgraded sites – equipped with the latest radio access network technology, modernized transport backhaul and power supply – are now 5G-ready. Furthermore, the telco operator's 5G core network is also being transformed to support 5G-Advanced functionality and services.

Meanwhile, the company also reported that its 4G LTE and 4G LTE-Advanced network footprints stand at 96.8% and 92.1% nationwide respectively.

For its network modernization project, CelcomDigi tapped Huawei and ZTE to provide network services, solutions and equipment.

The initiative – said to be one of the largest telecom network deployment projects in Malaysia – involves upgrades and site consolidation of almost 25,000 existing Celcom and Digi sites nationwide.

It also involves close to 800 engineers consisting of both skilled local engineers and R&D resources, and more than 250 specialized contractor teams for nationwide installation works. 

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About the Author(s)

Gigi Onag

Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading

Gigi Onag is Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading. She has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years, covering various aspects of enterprise IT across Asia-Pacific.

She started with regional IT publications under CMP Asia (now Informa), including Asia Computer Weekly, Intelligent Enterprise Asia and Network Computing Asia and Teledotcom Asia. This was followed by stints with Computerworld Hong Kong and sister publications FutureIoT and FutureCIO. She had contributed articles to South China Morning Post, TechTarget and PC Market among others.

She interspersed her career as a technology editor with a brief sojourn into public relations before returning to journalism, joining the editorial team of Mix Magazine, a MICE publication and its sister publication Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Gigi is based in Hong Kong and is keen to delve deeper into the region’s wide wild world of telecoms.

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