Celcom spending RM400million to boost capacity and speed

Celcom spending RM400million to boost capacity and speed
Media briefing: Celcom chief executive officer Datuk Shazalli Ramly (centre) looking at the group's first-quarter results.With him are deputy financial officer Jennifer Wong Chui Fen and chief financial officer Christopher Tiffin.

KUALA LUMPUR - About RM400million (S$156million) out of the RM950million (S$370million) allocated by Celcom Axiata Bhd in capital expenditure (capex) for this year will go into upgrading its network to be 4G-enabled.

The amount will allow Celcom to have 2,014 active fourth generation long term evolution (LTE) sites nationwide by year-end which allow users to have higher capacity and speed for data.

Celcom Axiata chief executive officer Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly told reporters yesterday that of the RM400million (S$156million), about RM100million (S$39million) has been used thus far.

The rest would be used for its IT upgrade and network utilisation, Shazalli said.

"We always put customers at the centre of everything we do and it is crucial for us to undertake measures that will significantly help us meet customer needs and enhance customer experience.

"We are determined to bring all our resources and put together the right infrastructure, people and culture to drive our transformation agenda," he said after a media briefing on the company's financial performance for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014.

He said the company had seen strong improvement in data traffic, which registered a 57 per cent growth, driven by the availability of smart devices as well as faster network and popular applications.

He added that Celcom was also working closely with its partners to strengthen its network optimisation programme.

The company also wants to target specific market segments this year and will be launching several products this year for women, as well as small and medium enterprises.

"For the elite customers, they would be addressed with the capability of our new IT back-end system. While we doing well in enterprise and solutions and we want to expand into offering new generation services to grow our profit,'' he said.

Celcom, which recently announced its first quarter ended March 31 financial results, saw its net profit rising 0.2 per cent year-on-year to RM515million (S$200million).

However, its revenue was slightly lower at RM1.91billion (S$743million), down 3.6 per cent due to lower Universal Service Provision revenue and the festive season which led to lower device sales.

Celcom Axiata chief financial officer Christopher Tiffin said the first quarter was traditionally a slower quarter versus the third and fourth quarters.

Celcom's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margins were sustained at 44 per cent led by its cost management initiatives last year, which continues into this year.

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