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Maxis and Redtone sign LTE netshare deal in Malaysia

Malaysian network operators Maxis Berhad and Redtone have entered into an infrastructure and spectrum sharing agreement as part of a plan to roll out LTE services across the country.

Maxis is Malaysia’s largest operator, with a subscriber base of almost 12.5 million as of June 2012, and is expected to hold a market share of 35.3 per cent by December 2012, according to Informa’s WCIS.

Redtone, meanwhile, focuses on providing fixed line data and broadband services in Malaysia and also held a 65 per cent stake in a domestic MVNO, called Redtone Mobile, which it sold in January this year. Redtone already offers 4G data services in East Malaysia using WiMAX technology and said that this deal will enable it to address its obligation to extend broadband coverage to 50 per cent of the country.

The firms are aiming to launch LTE in early 2013 in selected areas of the Klang Valley region, and said that the move is a response to the Malaysian Government’s call for telcos to reduce duplication of network assets and enable mobile operators to deliver better services. They added that the deal will also hel both firms reduce capex outflow from the country and maximises usage of spectrum.

“Data networks are onerous and have to be built carefully. The demand for data is not disputed, but the inflection point is some time away,” said Maxis CEO Sandip Das.

“Sharing will get Redtone up and running quickly and also fetch adequate returns on our investments, besides conserving spends at a national industry level. We are looking to set a new benchmark in data service quality as this will help us design a more effective infrastructure.”

At LTE World Summit in May 2012, Eduardo Duato,CTO of Orange Spain, gave a keynote presentation in which he argued that unless operators are supported in a fundamental shift in deployment strategies, making LTE pay for itself could, for many of them, be impossible. And in recent weeks, several European operators have announced network sharing deals, with O2 and Vodafone extending their collaboration in the UK, Vodafone and Three announcing a deal in Ireland and TeliaSonera and Telenor teaming up in Denmark.

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