YTL Communications says No to WiMAX, Yes to LTE

07 Feb 2014 / 12:24 H.

    PETALING JAYA (Feb 6, 2014): YTL Communications Sdn Bhd's, the telecommunications arm of YTL Corp Bhd, could be abandoning its WiMax service which it has adopted since November 2010 to roll out its long-term evolution (LTE) technology.
    Hong Leong Investment Bank's analyst Tan J Young believes that Yes, the brand name of YTL Communications in Malaysia, has stared trial runs and is preparing to roll its Time Division Duplexing-Long-Term Evolution (TDD-LTE) soon.
    "LTE trials are currently conducted not only on the 20MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum which was awarded by MCMC in 2012, but also on its 30MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum which is presently occupied by its commercial WiMAX business," he said in an note to investors today.
    "Surprisingly, trials are also being carried out on Asiaspace Broadband Sdn Bhd's 30MHz allocation on the 2.3GHz band," he added.
    This, he said, could indirectly mean that Yes could be eyeing to take over Asiaspace's spectrum which is currently idle as the latter's WiMAX business did not materialise.
    Asiaspace was awarded the 2.3GHz spectrum in December 2012 and was one of the four operators along with P1, YTL's Yes4G and REDtone that received the WiMAX licence from the government in 2007.
    A check on Asiaspace's website revealed that the company is planning to go ahead with its collaboration with YTL on infrastructure and spectrum sharing under an agreement now that it has a 2.3GHz spectrum.
    "With the collaboration, there will be avoided duplicity of infrastructure and maximize the use of bandwidth for the wireless broadband services nationwide by both companies to provide quality and uninterrupted services," it siad.
    Young said Yes' exit from WiMAX was an anticipated move as the technology is widely believed to be phasing out and LTE is the only logical technology progression for telcos.
    "If Yes lobbies successfully for Asiaspace's spectrum, it will allow Yes to migrate its existing WiMAX subscribers to LTE seamlessly while providing better quality of service," he said.
    "Upon complete migration, Yes could use the whole 60MHz of 2.3GHz to offer TDD-LTE with theoretical download speed of up to 220Mbps (assumed based on latest carrier aggregation technology with 2 component carriers coupled with downlinkuplink time division ratio of 3 to 1)," he noted.
    With this capability, Tan said, Yes can be a competent challenger to the incumbents with the niche of offering rich and high definition voice and text services over a pure advance data network supported by IMS, without the worry of legacy voice network.
    "We believe that compatible devices will be abundant in the near future on the back of China's commitment following recent TD-LTE licence awards which also consist of 2.3GHz spectrum. Notably, this (LTE band 40) is supported by iPhone 5S (model A1530)," he pointed out.
    "If Yes does invade the LTE market as such, this will undoubtedly elevate the competition in the cellular space one notch higher, while benefiting the fixed players through data bandwidth wholesale for backhaul transmission. Overall, this coincides with our sector outlook whereby we prefer fixed," he said.

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