Celcom excludes Nokia from 4G upgrade project

telecomasia.net

Malaysia's Celcom Axiata has excluded Nokia from its new five-year 4G network upgrade project, cutting its selection of vendor partners down to just Huawei and Ericsson.

The company has signed an infrastructure agreement with Huawei and Ericsson for a project expected to have capex costs of up to 2.2 billion ringgit ($566.7 million), the Edge Financial Daily reported.

Celcom's existing network infrastructure was built based on a three-partner collaboration of Nokia, Ericsson Malaysia and Huawei. But Celcom chief of operations Ramanathan Sathiamutty said the operator is cutting its partners down to two to streamline partner management

Under the new contract, Ericsson and Huawei will be responsible for the full turnkey delivery of a radio access network to support the 4G rollout and prepare for the introduction of 5G.

Celcom has budgeted between 1.8 billion and 2.2 billion ringgit as capex for the rollout. The amount spent will be contingent on whether Malaysia introduces spectrum refarming for the 900-MHz and 1800-MHz bands - if refarming is announced, the budget will be 2.2 billion ringgit.

The operator said the upgrade will allow the company to offer broader coverage with fewer sites, allowing it to realize group-level cost savings.

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