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Three Malaysian telcos seal deal to jointly develop fibre infrastructure to avoid duplication

KUALA LUMPUR (March 18): Telecommunications companies (telcos) Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd and Maxis Bhd have concluded a definitive agreement to jointly develop and share fibre infrastructure.

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.

In a statement, the telcos said this would allow for faster and more efficient deployment of fibre backhaul to base stations, avoiding duplication of fibre infrastructure in the country.

They added that this collaboration will enable the improved widespread of 4G connectivity, and increase the country's fibre infrastructure in line with ambitions under the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (JENDELA), as well as preparing for tower infrastructure for 5G.

The telcos will also work on intensifying the sharing of fibre infrastructure and enhancing mutual swapping arrangements.

It was explained that the collaboration essentially leverages the strengths of fibre technology to complement microwave technology. The microwave technology will bring advantages in terms of fast deployment, but the fibre infrastructure upgrades will enable the three companies to be better prepared for internet traffic growth especially in high impact areas.

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

The fibre collaboration is effective for 20 years. They noted planning is well underway for joint build and swapping arrangements that are expected to take place hereafter, with other operators also having the possibility to tap into additional network capacity from this agreement.

"This partnership marks a major milestone for Celcom in driving our ambition towards delivering a great and consistent network experience for all Malaysians.

"Celcom's partnership with Maxis and Digi, who are also major telco players in the country, will result in greater cost efficiencies for network infrastructure roll-outs and services nationwide, supporting the ever-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," said Celcom chief executive officer (CEO) Idham Nawawi.

Digi CEO Albern Murty added that 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," Murty said.

"We are pleased to see our collaboration progressing to the next level as it supports our collective ambition to provide fibre connectivity that is robust, pervasive, of high quality and affordable for all Malaysians. Infrastructure sharing is key to achieving this and enabling better efficiencies especially in narrowing the digital gap and generating a constructive environment for new technologies such as 5G. We remain committed to playing a role in supporting the country's digital ambitions," Maxis CEO Gokhun Ogut opined.

Shares in Maxis closed 1.28% or six sen lower at RM4.63, valuing it at RM36.22 billion. Digi's parent company DiGi.Com Bhd closed 1.08% or four sen lower at RM3.68, yielding a market capitalisation of RM28.61 billion.  Axiata shares were five sen or 1.3% lower at RM3.80, valuing it at RM34.84 billion.

http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/three-malaysian-telcos-seal-deal-jointly-develop-fibre-infrastructure-avoid-duplication

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