Maxis unit and U Mobile ink long-term partnership

PETALING JAYA: Maxis Bhd’s unit, Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd, and U Mobile Sdn Bhd have entered into a multi-billion ringgit agreement to share Maxis’ 3G radio access networks (RAN), making the partnership the first active 3G RAN sharing arrangement to be deployed in Malaysia.

The agreement would be for an initial period of 10 years, both companies said in a joint statement yesterday.

The agreement also encompasses long-term evolution (LTE) sharing when the spectrum becomes available and the technology is rolled out which will deliver even better benefits to customers.

“This collaboration marks a milestone in the telecommunications industry in Malaysia as it shares the active telecommunications systems and operating frequency spectrum and goes beyond the existing physical (passive) infrastructure sharing which has been practised for a long time between operators in the industry,” the statement said.

“As a result of the collaboration, Maxis will receive a significant new source of revenue and will enhance utilisation of its network in areas that are currently under-utilised.”

In the same statement, Maxis chief executive officer Sandip Das said the collaboration was significant for Maxis as it reflected the company’s commitment to promote non-duplication of infrastructure.

“Active sharing results in greater cost savings which in turn translates to increased direct revenue for both companies. More importantly it allows us to focus on providing innovative services and giving more value to customers, while having the benefit of doing all these in a more environmentally-friendly manner,” he said.

“As a strong advocate of network-sharing, this will add to our existing carbon footprint-reduction initiatives. To date, over 54% of our base stations sites are shared with other operators. This partnership will also accelerate broadband penetration in the country, paving the way towards achieving digital Malaysia aspirations.”

This newly-signed agreement will also enable U Mobile to accelerate the speed of its 3G network roll-out by four to five times and, at the same time, achieve significant cost-savings through network sharing with Maxis.

“The shared locations will exclude urban market centres, such as the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Baru and Ipoh, where U Mobile is committed to continue providing high-speed mobile broadband services,” the statement said.

U Mobile chief executive officer Dr Kaizad Heerjee, meanwhile, said the mutually-beneficial partnership with Maxis would accelerate the expansion of its current 3G footprint to more than 4,000 3G sites in Malaysia by early-2013.

He said the extensive savings generated from this agreement would enable U Mobile to bring even more product and service innovation for its customers while, at the same time, assisting the government initiative of “Broadband for all”.

“The RAN partnership also responds to the Government’s call for telcos to reduce duplication of network assets, enabling operators to deliver better services. In addition, this pact promotes increased competition at the service level rather than at the infrastructure level,” the statement said.

“Mobile operators around the world are looking for cost-efficiencies across the industry. In a mature market such as Malaysia, RAN sharing can considerably reduce capital expenditure and operating expenditure, increase the speed of network rollouts, enhance coverage and more importantly to meet the rapidly increasing demands for data and voice capacity.”
Source-The Star

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