LTE will not cost much, says YTL Comms

09 Jun 2014 / 05:36 H.

PETALING JAYA: YTL Communications Bhd (YTL Comms), which has invested more than RM2 billion into building the network and product development for its 4G infrastructure, does not expect to incur much capital expenditure when it rolls out its long-term evolution (LTE) technology soon.
Its CEO Wing K Lee (pix) said the company has built its existing 4G WiMAX network that is "future proof" and therefore implementation of LTE is not that tough.
He said when YTL Comms built its WiMAX network over the past three-and-a-half years, it realised that technology will continue to evolve and has made certain to be "future proof" by building an all-Internet Protocol (IP) network.
"Technology evolution happens all the time, so we built our network to be a flat IP network, so any IP-based technology can plug into our network. For us, adding LTE is as simple as adding a channel card," he told SunBiz.
Wing said the company will not be abandoning its WiMax service which it has adopted since November 2010 to roll out its LTE technology. "No, we will not be migrating away from WiMax. Instead we will work hand-in-hand with LTE," he said.
Wing said YTL Communication's 4G network which covers 85% of the population with over 4,000 base stations, has proven to be robust and will continue to serve its customers well.
However, he added that while the mobile WiMAX network has delivered favourable economics, adding LTE to its network would allow for an expanded array of device and service possibilities.
He said YTL Comms has completed trial runs and will be rolling out its LTE soon, without giving a definitive date.
Holding it close to his chest, Wing was reluctant to reveal which LTE variant YTL Comms is planning to adopt except to say it is a "newer version".
Wing had previously said that he liked the Time-division-LTE (TD-LTE) spectrum as it is more flexible and efficient compared to Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) spectrum, which is a different standard of LTE 4G technology.
He said the latest version offers faster speed, higher network capacity and at the same time present better quality of Internet multimedia experience.
He said YTL Communications should be in a good position to be the first company Malaysia to launch the newer version of LTE.
"We are looking for the right time and point of entry to launch the new version of LTE," he said.
YTL Communications, he noted, will collaborate with Asiaspace Broadband Sdn Bhd's 30MHz allocation on the 2.3GHz band in infrastructure and spectrum sharing.
The collaboration will help avoid duplicity of infrastructure and maximise the use of bandwidth for the wireless broadband services nationwide by both companies to provide quality and uninterrupted services.
YTL Comms was among the eight companies awarded the LTE spectrum in late 2012. The other companies include Celcom Axiata Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd, Maxis Bhd, Packet One Networks (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd, REDtone International Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd.
Celcom Axiata, Maxis, DiGi and U Mobile appear to be more aggressive in their LTE rollout. Celcom said it plans to have more than 2,000 LTE sites, while DiGi expressed its plans to have more than 1,500 LTE sites by end of this year. Maxis, which has set aside RM1.1 billion of capital expenditure (capex) this year, said it will spend a significant amount of this capex to expand its LTE coverage.
On another note, Wing said YTL Comms will be launching the 1BestariNet project in Sarawak this year.
So far, 90% of 10,101 primary and secondary government schools in Malaysia are connected through the cloud-based virtual learning.

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