720,000 new lines from Telekom M'sia's CDMA deal

Telekom Malaysia's RM551 million (US$145 million) contract to Motorola for the implementation of CDMA (code division multiple access) technology countrywide will allow for another 720,000 phone lines by 2004.

CYBERJAYA--Telekom Malaysia's RM551 million (US$145 million) contract to Motorola for the implementation of CDMA (code division multiple access) technology countrywide will allow for another 720,000 phone lines by 2004.

Sarawak's hinterland will be the first to taste this technology next month with the nation as a whole going CDMA by December.

"About 150,000 users in Sarawak and 150,000 users nationwide are expected to benefit from CDMA in the first year of service," Telekom chief executive officer Md Khir Abdul Rahman told reporters on Thursday after the signing ceremony between the state-backed telco and Motorola.

CDMA will give Telekom a 'last mile' connectivity solution to rural areas and also enable high-speed data delivery via fixed wireless, mobile and Internet services at a rate of 144 kbps.

Telekom is the first Malaysian carrier to deploy CDMA.

Md Khir said CDMA would also enhance Telekom's offerings of both voice and data services for commercial as well as residential customers.

Motorola corporate vice-president and general manager (global telecommunications solutions sector) Simon Leung meanwhile commented that the CDMA contract with Telekom was the telecommunication equipment's eighth since 2000.

He said Motorola would deploy a third-generation CDMA 2000 1X network, which is a hybrid network, enabling convergence of fixed wireless, mobile and Internet services.

Last mile connectivity
Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Leo Moggie who was also present at the signing ceremony, said the government may open up last mile connections to new investors to provide wireless services.

He added that further competition in the last mile segment could stimulate local private sector initiatives in this field.

Last mile connects a particular network to end-users. Currently, Telekom is the biggest provider of last mile connections for fixed line services in the country.

Asked whether foreign investors would also be considered to provide last mile connectivity, Moggie said no decision has been taken as yet as the government is still mulling whether to allow new investors into niche areas in the first place.