Telekom Malaysia get a Leg Up in Mobile in Maxis ink RAN Deal

Telekom Malaysia have landed a deal to share Maxis' RAN Infrastructure and boost their 4G coverage and position in the mobile market.

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The two rival operators marketed the deal as a way to ”strengthen the nation’s digital ecosystem through industry collaboration”. While this is true, it’s far more likely just a simple way to give Telekom Malaysia (TM) a better pitch into the mobile market.

What was decided is that TM will have access to Maxis’ 4G Multi Operator Core Network (MOCN). This means the two telcos can use different cores, but share the RAN infrastructure. The move will enable TM to extend the 4G mobile coverage to over 95% of the population.

As well as this, the deal comes with a 2G and 4G roaming element, which will again benefit TM in boosting its coverage throughout Malaysia. Under the terms of the arrangement, Maxis will provide over 6,500 sites for 4G MOCN and domestic roaming services, as well as 10,000 sites for 2G roaming, in both rural and urban areas.

This deal comes as no surprise, as TM are trying to get back into the mobile industry via its Unifi Mobile operation. It previously left the market around 15 years ago, and its former Celcom operation ended up becoming a part of Axiata Group. It later became CelcomDigi, after merging with Telenor’s Digi in November of 2022- a move that created a truly dominant player in the market.

Due to this, there’s no doubt Maxis and their rival U Mobile have their work cut out to compete with CelcomDigi. For TM however, there is now opportunity to build Unifi Mobile to the country’s fourth MNO, instead of their current 5th place.

TM’s mentioned 95% 4G coverage target, which is now far more likely through the Maxis deal, competes pretty well against the 96% available to CelcomDigi customers. They’ll have to move quickly, though, as the telco are aiming for a huge 98% or more in the next three years, it was reported. Due to this merger, it will be decommissioning redundant sites and building new ones.

As for 5G and what comes next, TM has stated they intend to play an active role in creating Malaysia’s second wholesale 5G network. This will involve the use of fibre infrastructure, digital platforms- including edge nodes and data centres- and rollout expertise.

”TM shall continue to deliver converged connectivity and solutions across fibre and 5G to its home, SME, enterprise and Government customers through Unifi and TM One. We are witnessing an important step in the industry’s collaborative efforts towards infrastructure sharing.”

Datuk Imri Mokhtar, Group CEO, Telekom Malaysia

As for Maxis, there’s presumably a great business angle in it for them.

”We look forward to progressing ahead with TM on this initiative. Industry collaboration is the right way forward as it will ultimately consumers with wider coverage through better cost efficiency and more efficient use of our resources.”

Goh Seow Eng, Maxis CEO

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