Celcom: RM100m for 4G project

Business Times, March 7, 2013

CELCOM Axiata Bhd will put aside RM100 million from its RM1 billion capital expenditure (capex) to roll out its long-term evolution (LTE) programme.

Chief executive officer Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly said Celcom's 4G LTE is slated to be launched in the second quarter of this year.

It is learnt that Celcom has rolled out up to 70 4G sites so far from its first phase that will see up to 300 sites set up by July or August this year.

Shazalli said Celcom plans to have up to 1,500 4G sites by 2015.

"The introduction of 4G LTE offerings will enhance Celcom's existing 3G/HSPA+ sites which already support speeds of up to 42Mbps covering 83.7 per cent of the population," he told a media briefing on the company's results here yesterday.

Celcom is one of the eight companies awarded licence for the LTE or 4G spectrum by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission last December.

It was also learnt that a bulk of Celcom's capex will be for its core information technology (IT) solutions to support its expanding infrastructure.

"Celcom's network quality, IT systems, customer experience touchpoints, products and services, even our people and talent are all part of the transformation agenda which is well under way," said Shazalli.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31 2012, Celcom's profit after tax and minority interest (Patami) fell 12.6 per cent to RM510 million. Patami margins stood at 25.8 per cent.

Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) dropped 2.2 per cent to RM862 million from RM881 million a year ago.

Its revenue for the quarter rose 1.9 per cent to RM1.97 billion from RM1.93 billion a year ago, making it the 27th consecutive quarter of growth for the company.

Shazalli said 2013 would be "a very, very challenging year" to maintain its leading market share in the voice segment, and expand its data segment and new digital services.

Celcom will also enter the home fibre market with its very own FTTH packages next month.

Shazalli also noted that telecommunication operators typically perform well during election years.

For the 12-month period, Celcom posted its highest ever Patami and Ebitda in its history.

Patami stood at RM2.2 billion, up 5.1 per cent from a year ago, while Ebitda grew 7.1 per cent to RM3.45 billion for the financial year ended December 2012.

The company also registered the highest revenue in its history, rising by seven per cent to RM7.74 billion from RM7.23 billion in 2011.

Shazalli said the company had outperformed the entire industry with the performance boosted by a surge in data revenue.