KUALA LUMPUR: Integrated communications service provider Maxis Communications and data and broadband service provider REDtone International have signed an infrastructure and spectrum sharing agreement.
The deal is to fast track the rollout of an ultra-high speed 4G (fourth generation) network throughout the country.
Both Maxis and REDtone are looking to launch their 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services early next year in selected areas of the Klang Valley, with other regions to follow quickly.
Customers will soon have the opportunity to access higher broadband speeds in the country - up to 150Mbps (megabits per second) - with the latest 4G LTE technology, through the combined spectrum.
The agreement is in line with the Government's call for telecommunications operators to reduce duplication of network assets, enabling the quicker delivery of better broadband services.
Maxis chief executive officer Sandip Das said the demand for data is not disputed, but the inflection point remains some time away.
"Data networks are onerous and have to be built carefully. Sharing will help get REDtone up and running quickly, and also fetch adequate returns on our investments, besides conserving spending at a national industry level," he said.
"We are looking to set a new benchmark in data service quality because this will help us design a more effective infrastructure," he said.
In October last year, Maxis signed an agreement to share its 3G radio access networks (RAN) with 3G service provider U Mobile, making the partnership the first active 3G RAN sharing arrangement to be deployed in Malaysia.
The agreement, with an initial period of 10 years, also encompasses LTE sharing when the spectrum becomes available.
Maxis has invested RM3.7bil in capital expenditure (capex) over the past three years, resulting in 95% 2G and 81% high-speed 3G coverage for the population.
It now has 3,400 of its 5,200 3G sites enabled with 42Mbps capability, and has built the capability for efficient LTE rollout.
"The network sharing and alliance agreement with Maxis is a significant development for REDtone as we build on our broadband business," said REDtone managing director Datuk Wei Chuan Beng.
He said that for the company to comply with the 50% coverage rollout requirement, its capex would have been RM390mil. This has been mostly replaced by riding on Maxis' existing infrastructure and leasing the necessary capacity from Maxis.
REDtone is expected to launch its mobile broadband services and products that ride on the shared network next year.