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Malaysia Celcom to invest RM$1 billion to boost Internet capacity

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21 (Asia Pulse) - Celcom (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, the largestmobile phone operator, which runs on 010 and 019 networks, plans to invest overRM1 billion (US$263 million) over the next two years on new infrastructure. Its group executive vice president, Wan Aishah Wan Hamid, said this timeinvestments would be mainly channeled to building up own Information Technology(IT) platform for integration into its present cellular network .

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21 (Asia Pulse) - Celcom (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, the largest mobile phone operator, which runs on 010 and 019 networks, plans to invest over RM1 billion (US$263 million) over the next two years on new infrastructure.

Its group executive vice president, Wan Aishah Wan Hamid, said this time investments would be mainly channeled to building up own Information Technology (IT) platform for integration into its present cellular network . "In other words we want to be a true Internet Communications technology company in Malaysia besides a full-fledged telecommunications company," she said. She was speaking at a press conference here Saturday held in conjunction with a ceremony to honour the support and loyalty of Celcom's one million active customers.

Wan Aishah said that the investment would be for capital expenditure to purchase new and state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructures for internet support system, as well as for product development. She stressed that Celcom's five year product and services programmes would cater for its customers' active demand for a wider array of services. "This is especially so today in the advent of high-tech era where communications and internet technologies change almost everyday. So, we in Celcom have to keep up with the pace (of new development)," she said.

Wan Aishah also pointed out that Celcom's bold plan was to introduce internet access service and the Wireless Application Protocol service in its mobile network as soon as possible. She said that Celcom was also preparing to transform its core system of Short Messaging Service (SMS) to a new telecommunication technology called GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). GPRS is one of the latest communication technology where voice and data were sent in packet as against the normal circuit switch transmission (SMS). It has the capacity of transmitting data by more than ten times the ordinary carrier. According to her, GPRS system would definitely help towards a speedier data transmission of wireless internet access between cellular phones.

Touching on Celcom market share, group executive vice president Bistamam Ramli said that the company would be happy if its 43.4 percent share in the mobile market last year is retained this year. "Now we have a total of 1.05 million active subscribers and they are growing each day. And if this momentum continues, the figure could go up to 1.4 million by year-end," he said. Of the total 1.05 million subscribers, he said that some 820,000 chose the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network (019) while the balance used the analog system (010).

On the industry's well-being, Wan Aishah said that the local mobile industry was still far from reaching the critical mass where its virtual mobile penetration was still low at 17 percent out of the 22 million population. In Finland, the mobile penetration rate was at a whopping 57 percent, she said. "Therefore, the local mobile industry still offers tremendous potential of growth and coupled with a low tariff, the Malaysian market can do a lot more," she said. She expects an industry's cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) of 15 percent for five years.