RM116 mln to power 600 Sarawak telco towers with world’s first 6-way network technology

Julaihi (seated, second right) and Fahmi (seated, second left) addressing a press conference following the signing ceremony for the SMART600 MOCN Agreement at Hikmah Exchange Event Centre, Kuching on May 24, 2024.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, May 24: Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Ministry of Finance (MOF) are set to allocate a substantial RM116 million to power 600 Sarawak Multimedia Authority Rural Telecommunication ((SMART600) towers with six-way Multi-Operator Core Network (MOCN) technology.

The innovative six-way MOCN technology, enabling multiple network operators to utilise a common Radio Access Network, facilitating connectivity services from CelcomDigi, Maxis, U Mobile, YTL, and Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (MySRBN), is touted as the world’s first implementation of its kind.

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Federal Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil announced that MCMC will disburse RM42 million for the first year and RM37 million for the subsequent two years.

“Over the specified three-year period, telecommunications companies are prepared to contribute RM28 million annually for three years.

“So, overall amount for the project is RM200 million to ensure that all SMART600 towers are equipped with six-way MOCN,” he said during a press conference today following the signing ceremony for the SMART600 MOCN Agreement at the Hikmah Exchange Event Centre here.

With 600 SMART towers outfitted with the MOCN system, telecommunication companies will be able to expedite mobile coverage expansion in rural Sarawak. Approximately 1,000 settlements in rural areas are poised to benefit from this initiative, enjoying ubiquitous coverage regardless of their chosen network provider.

Meanwhile, Minister for Utility and Telecommunication (MUT) Dato Sri Julaihi Narawi disclosed that a total of 247 SMART towers in Sarawak have been successfully activated using MOCN technology, out of the 600 towers planned for implementation.

“Out of the figure, 512 towers that have completed physically to date, with 308 already on air, including 247 using MOCN technology across Sarawak.

“This significant milestone is expected to bolster our efforts in effectively implementing the Post-Covid Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 agenda, as well as fostering Sarawak’s economy, digital economy, and blueprint,” Julaihi remarked, representing Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg at the signing ceremony.

The signing ceremony witnessed Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation Berhad (SDEC) entering agreements with CelcomDigi Berhad, Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd, U Mobile Sdn Bhd, and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd.

Additionally, a separate memorandum of understanding (MoU) for Domestic Roaming (DR) for SMART600 was inked between Maxis and TM Technology Services Sdn Bhd, aiming to provide TM customers with cellular services at all SMART600 sites, in line with the Sarawak government’s vision for comprehensive network coverage in the region.

Deputy Minister of Telecommunication Datuk Liwan Lagang, SDEC chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani, and SDEC chief executive officer Sudarnoto Osman were present. — DayakDaily

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