Maxis kicks off the new year with a surprise announcement yesterday that they are now rolling out 4G LTE service beginning with selected parts of the Klang Valley, making them the first carrier in Malaysia to offer a “true” 4G network here.
The 4G service is now live in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Damansara Utama, Desa Sri Hartamas, Bandar Puchong Jaya, Bandar Sunway and Cyberjaya. While it’s a small coverage area at this point, Maxis promises to launch the LTE service to other areas “very soon.”
According to Maxis the following locations are also able to enjoy partial coverage: SS2, Taman Paramount,Section 17 and 19 in Petaling Jaya, Plaza Damansara, Bandar Kinrara and Taman Wawasan in Puchong
LTE stands for ‘Long-term Evolution’ and was developed by 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) as a standard for wireless communication found in smartphones and other mobile data terminals. It was also based on 2G (GSM/EDGE) and 3G (UMTS/HSPA) technologies.
4G LTE has a theoretical downlink of 300Mbps and uplink of 75Mbps, and Maxis claims that they will be able to offer speeds of up to the latter, 75Mbps, though average speeds of 10-30Mbps are expected. That accounts to roughly 5-10 times the speed of a regular 3G connection. If able to achieve such connection consistently, a 5MB audio will take just 2 seconds to download and a 750MB video, a ridiculously fast 5 minutes.
Maxis’ 4G LTE is able to integrate seamlessly with our existing 3G and 2G networks, with the 4G connection falling back to 3G (or 2G) when not in coverage area. Dual Carrier HSPA+ offers theoretical downlink of up to 42Mbps, while good old HSPA+ gets 21Mbps max. Maxis stated that the former has over 3,500 sites covered, and the latter already covers 81% of the population from 5,200 sites.
Maxis has yet to offer a contract with LTE-enabled phones, but subscriptions can be made now with their Wireless Broadband packages over at KLCC and TTDI’s Maxis Centers. According to the press release, currently Maxis only offers three plans with the 75Mbps USB modem: 20GB (RM88), 28GB (RM128), 48GB (RM158).
It’s a 12-months contract with an upfront modem and activation charge of RM400 and RM150 respectively. Current subscribers could also upgrade their existing USB modems for RM400.
While Maxis is the first carrier to launch 4G LTE, seven other companies were given access to the spectrum as well: Celcom Axiata Bhd., DiGi Telecommunications Sdn. Bhd., Packet One Networks Sdn. Bhd., Puncak Semangat Sdn. Bhd., REDtone Marketing Sdn. Bhd., U Mobile Sdn. Bhd. and YTL Communications Sdn. Bhd.
As far as we could tell at this point, there are only three smartphones that support the 2600MHz band allocated by MCMC for our carriers: ASUS Padfone 2, Nokia Lumia 920 and 820. It is our understanding that existing Maxis subscribers already has 4G LTE enabled, provided their devices also supports the 2600MHz band. If you happen to own one of these devices and are a Maxis subscriber, please do chime in on the download speeds you’re able to achieve.
For more information on Maxis’ 4G LTE service, head on to their site here.