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Maxis tests LTE in Malaysia

Last Friday, Maxis became the first operator in Malaysia to successfully test an LTE network.

In the test, Maxis working together with Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei, managed to achieve download speeds of between 60 to 104Mbps.

In a press release announcing the successful completion of the test, Maxis mentioned that it will continue with LTE testing in Bandar Utama and Damansara “to rigorously assess the quality of LTE performance” with its existing HSPA network. In the same release Maxis said that its network is ready for LTE integration.

Does this mean we will be seeing LTE deployments in Malaysia soon?

If by soon you mean in a few years, yeah possibly. But the reality of the matter is that we won’t see LTE coming in to Malaysia commercially for at least another couple of years.

But with the announcement, we now know that Maxis is looking to deploy LTE in Malaysia. Or are they? This is not the first time Maxis announced a successful test. In 2007 Maxis announced the successful testing of a mobile live television technology called DVB-H. The telco had even announced that it will make DVB-H service available, but we all know that that didn’t happen.

Could LTE be another one of Maxis’ failure to launch projects?

We don’t think so. Like it or not, LTE will come the question is when. But when it does, don’t expect LTE phones right out of the bat. Adoption will take time and LTE phones will be at least another year after commercial LTE deployment.

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3G today is doing fine with voice services, its just that when it comes to data, 3G is finding it very difficult to cope. In its early stages, we predict LTE to come in and alleviate congestion issues in 3G networks. So when LTE comes to Malaysia, you can expect USB dongles and MiFi type of devices coming into the market.

What would happen to WiMAX when LTE comes in?

It difficult to tell at the moment, both technologies have their strengths and weaknesses. And who says both can’t coexist with one service provider providing both. The possibility is definitely there but it all bores down to what technology the world prefers to adopt.

Remember the battle of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray? What about normal audio CDs versus Super Audio CDs? Betamax against VHS anyone?

What this battle of formats have thought us in the past is that no one technology was definitively better than the other. It was just down to which one is more popular.

Whatever it is, it will be interesting to watch.