Internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity in our daily lives. Maxis which is the first telco to roll out 4G LTE in Malaysia strives to deliver the best internet experience for its consumers. It is nearly 2 years since Maxis launched its commercial 4G LTE service and obviously the mobile landscape has changed. These days you can easily get a cheap device with 4G LTE and consumers appetite for always-on connectivity and high-definition content is ever increasing.
To cope with the rising demand for reliable connectivity, Maxis has been making network upgrades progressively to deliver a consistent experience. Equipments have been replaced with newer ones and their 4G base station internet backbones have been gradually upgraded with faster optic fibre connectivity, especially in key markets such as the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Bahru. The new network upgrade exercise which will cost more than RM1 billion is set to reach out to 75% of the population by year end.
To gauge the performance of their new network, they have engaged research company Neilsen to conduct tests across 91 locations in the Klang Valley, Penang, Kuantan and Johor Bahru last month. Their findings conclude that Maxis is able to deliver at least 1Mbps downloads 80% of the time, popular websites being able to load within 8 seconds and no buffering on YouTube 96% of the time.
Maxis wants their staff to be their ambassadors and to better understand their customer experience, they have kick off a new network test drive this morning. This involved over a thousand of their staff throughout Peninsular Malaysia conducting speed tests, YouTube streaming and basically anything that a typical user would do with their smart phones. We we’re invited to join them briefly and from our findings, there are noticeable improvements in key areas particularly in BrickFields and KL Sentral where it is possible to get over 50Mbps. When we head to Pasar Seni/Masjid Jamek, congestion starts to creak in where we gotten about 2-6Mbps. Obviously the network upgrade journey is far from over for Maxis.
In our test group, some were using the iPhone 5 which utilises LTE on 1800MHz. At certain locations, Maxis’s 4G LTE was only available on 2600MHz frequency, which limits the older iPhone 5 to just 3G. So if you want the best experience, it is advisable to get a 4G device that supports both 1800MHz/2600MHz bands. This isn’t an issue with the newer iPhone 5S and the latest iPhone 6.
During our short meet up with Morten Lundal, he shared that Maxis is not striving to be the fastest but they aim to deliver a consistent internet for all. Any time you need to do something online, the experience must be good, if not better. They added that customer feedback is very important at Maxis, be it downtime or black spots in restaurant, basement and in-building coverage. Hopefully Maxis will keep up with this effort as we have no doubt that 4G users and consumption would set to increase in the near future.