PETALING JAYA: Altel Communications Sdn Bhd aims to give established players in the telecommunications sector a run for their money following its maiden product launch today
Altel expects to become a full-fledged telco once it has put in place its own infrastructure network to roll out super fast fourth-generation (4G) broadband services.
Until then, the company is operating on the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model via a partnership with Celcom Axiata Bhd.
Once its 4G services are fully rolled out, Altel will enter a different arena altogether, said chief executive officer Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Yaacob.
"This allows us to compete side-by-side with established telco providers like DiGi, Maxis and Celcom," said Nik Aziz in an interview with Business Times ahead of the launch of its mobile prepaid pack.
Altel reportedly is planning to spend RM1 billion on network infrastructure over five years. Construction is expected to kick off by December.
"For the time being, there is a limit to what we can offer as we're operating on the MVNO model.
"We are developing infrastructure for our services and our target is to become a full-fledged telco so that we will have more control over our business operation."
Altel, formerly known as Puncak Semangat Technology Sdn Bhd, was recently awarded a 40-megahertz spectrum band by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to provide 4G services with speed in excess of 100 megabits per second.
It is a subsidiary of Altel Holdings Sdn Bhd, which in turn is a wholly-owned company of Al-Bukhary Group.
Altel and Celcom will pool their blocks of 2.6-gigahertz spectrum to operate a wireless business running on or using long-term evolution (LTE) technologies.
Nik Aziz said the country's fledgling 4G market means that Altel can slug it out competitively with the likes of Maxis, Celcom and DiGi.
"We still provide voice services over the traditional 2G (second-generation) and 3G (third-generation) technologies through our partnership with Celcom. But our main focus will be 4G-LTE services.
"Once the country's 4G landscape matures, we will have our own voice services over LTE as well."
The company plans to own mobile core network and business operations support systems by building 500 LTE radio base stations in the first year and 2,100 in the next three years.
While the money will be funded internally, Nik Aziz said the cost could be reduced by up to 20 per cent through smart partnerships with other telcos and innovative approaches.