Operators in Southeast Asia are laying out their deployment plans for the rest of the year, with the Malaysia’s Celcom claiming that it will be ready to launch commercial 5G services as soon as it holds suitable spectrum.
As reported by The Edge Markets, Celcom’s chief executive Idham Nawawi stated that the operator would launch consumer-ready services in “a matter of months” once frequencies have been allocated.
“We have upgraded our core network to be ready so we just need to add the capacity of the core network”, he said. “We still have some other areas to work on of course, but we will be ready to roll out the service soon after we get the [regulatory] green light.”
Meanwhile in the Philippines, Globe Telecom has detailed its cell site construction plans for the third quarter, with its latest expansion aiming to cover both cities and rural areas across numerous regions.
Joel Agustin, the senior vice president of programme development for Globe’s technical group, said: “We heed the call of our customers for more connectivity, that’s why we continue to expand our coverage and capacity even during a pandemic.”
The Philippines enacted a strict lockdown early in the Covid-19 pandemic, spurring a huge increase in demand for data. TeleGeography notes that while Globe’s expansion reflects this, it is also capitalising on a government push to ease bureaucracy around cell site construction.
Building just one site currently requires “dozens of permits”, meaning construction can stretch on for as long as eight months. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has pledged to address “redundant or duplicitous permitting” in a bid to ease network expansion, and is also looking to encourage tower sharing among operators.