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Celcom Axiata Berhad
IndustryMobile telecommunication service
HeadquartersCelcom Axiata New Corporate Office
Persiaran Barat, Seksyen 52 Petaling Jaya, 46200 Petaling Jaya, ,
Key people
Idham Nawawi, CEO
Services2G, 3G, 4G, Fibre Broadband and satellite mobile network
OwnerAxiata Group Berhad

Celcom Axiata Berhad, DBA Celcom, is the oldest mobile telecommunications provider in Malaysia. Celcom is a member of the Axiata group of companies.

Being one of the very few companies in Malaysia to originally obtain a cellular phone license, it successfully introduced mobile telephony in Malaysia through its ART-900 (Automatic Radio Telephone) service, using first-generation (analogue) ETACS (Extended Total Access Communication System) specifications of the United Kingdom, a derivative of the US-AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone System) technology. The ETACS ART-900 was started using the prefix "010".

Celcom now uses the dialling prefix identifier of "013" and "019" and offer digital GSM (Groupe Speciale Mobile), an originally European standard, now largely a world standard for mobile communications. The original frequency band for GSM is 900 MHz and was soon extended to 1800 MHz to cater for much wider bandwidth requirements. The 2100 MHz band is used for their dual-channel HSPA+ network. Celcom is also licensed and has been operating FDD-LTE on 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz.

Through the Mobile Number Portability by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Celcom also provides Virtual Mobile Operator services. The company also provides rural communications services using CDMA Technology and Satellite Phone.


Celcom started its operation as STM Cellular Communications in 1988 with Fleet Group (then-parent company of TV3, NSTP, and Bank of Commerce Berhad/BCB) and Telekom Malaysia as shareholders. Subsequently, Telekom Malaysia sold its 51% shareholding to the TRI group, which was controlled by Tajudin Ramli. Fleet Group's share was transferred to the which was later sold to TRI. In the initial years, Celcom experienced tremendous growth in subscriber base and network coverage under the stewardship of Rosli Man, the President of the company. It was during his tenure that Celcom turned into the leading cellular company in Malaysia. Rosli Man left Celcom in 1996.

When the cellular phone market was opened up in 1995, Celcom upgraded to the GSM900 service and quickly grew to become the largest mobile phone company in Malaysia. Competition soon set in, and several digital mobile carriers competed for market dominance of the cellular phone industry.

During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Celcom's owner, Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli suffered a debt crunch, and his shareholding in Celcom was seized by Danaharta, the national asset restructuring company. Failure to resolve his debts resulted in the controlling stake in Celcom being sold to Telekom Malaysia, the government-owned incumbent fixed-line operator in 2003. Telekom Malaysia proceeded to merge Celcom with its own mobile-operator subsidiary TMTouch through a reverse takeover of TMTouch.

Celcom was originally listed on the Bursa Malaysia, but after the merger with Telekom Malaysia Berhad, it has since remained private.

Owing to the inferior management of its former management, Celcom was found liable by an arbitration panel in Switzerland for infringing an agreement signed with Deutsche Telekom AG's unit, DeTeAsia in 2002. The tribunal ruled that Celcom was liable to pay DeTeAsia US$177.2 million in principal plus US$16.2 million in interest as well as other legal and arbitration costs. The total sum was about RM740 million, leaving Telekom Malaysia to intensify its efforts at recovering monies from Celcom's previous owners.

Coverage, Products, and Services[edit]

Celcom operates 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE, 3G WCDMA/HSPA+, 4G LTE networks.[1]

Celcom has broader and more extensive coverage nationwide in Malaysia, compared to other cellular operators. In 2006, Celcom claimed its dual-band GSM (900/1800 MHz) coverage had reached over 98% of Malaysia's populated area, and 100% through satellite coverage.[2]

In 2017, Celcom had a 90% nationwide mobile service coverage with 3G availability expanding from Klang Valley, Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kulim, and Penang.[3]

As of March 2018, Celcom improved its network experience considerably, especially with the expansion of its 4G and 4G LTE-A population coverage to 88% and 76%.[4]

Back in 2015, Celcom has 3500 4G LTE sites in the country. The Telco aims to offer up to 80% human population coverage by the end of 2016, and 95% of 4G LTE coverage by 2020.[5] Celcom 4G LTE network coverage stood at 82% nationwide while 4G LTE-A coverage is at 71%, as of quarter 3 of 2017.[6]

Celcom offers 2G, 3G, 4G LTE services on its postpaid and Xpax prepaid brands.

On 28 June 2000, Celcom launched GSM WAP on 2G GPRS at 170 kbit/s.[7]

On 15 May 2005, Celcom launched the first 3G service in Malaysia, covering most major towns where there is a Telekom Malaysia telephone exchange and either HSDPA or EDGE services within 15-mile (24 km) radius (GSM UMTS maximum allowed range) with GPRS as basic data coverage.

In 2013, the 4th generation standard of FDD-LTE was deployed gradually nationwide. The initial license is only on the 2,600 MHz band. In the second quarter, its 1,800 MHz band has been redeployed to cater for both 2G and 4G.

In April 2016, the Celcom CEO told MalaysianWireless that both Ericsson and Huawei would build the Celcom 4G network in Klang Valley from 2016 till 2020. As for other states, Ericsson would build the 4G network in Sabah & Sarawak, Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang. Huawei would focus on Penang, Perlis, Perak, and Johor.[8]


Frequencies used on Celcom Network in Malaysia
Band Frequency Frequency width Protocol Notes
8 900 MHz (890~900, 935~945) 2 * 10 MHz GSM/HSPA+/LTE 2x5MHz HSPA+ or LTE
(expiry 2032)
3 1800 MHz (1745~1765, 1840~1860) 2 * 20 MHz LTE (expiry 2032)
1 2100 MHz (1950~1965, 2140~2155) 2 * 15 MHz HSPA+/LTE refarming 2x10 MHz LTE in some area (2Q19)
(expiry 2032)
7 2600 MHz (2530~2540, 2650~2660) 2 * 10 MHz LTE
7 2600 MHz (2540~2550, 2660~2670) 2 * 10 MHz LTE Lease spectrum from ALTEL.

Celcom Broadband[edit]

Celcom Broadband is Malaysia's most popular mobile broadband provider, with 1.534 million subscribers as of the first quarter of 2015. The broadband network covers 86% of Malaysia's populated areas.

Celcom Broadband was awarded the prestigious Frost & Sullivan's Mobile Broadband Provider for two years.[9]


Kolony, launched by Celcom on 8 April 2011 was the first-ever SMS-based social networking service in Malaysia.[10] Kolony targeted Malaysian youths and those that wanted to be connected to their family and friends frequently by using their mobile phone.[11] It ran on the regular SMS-based platform, allowing users to participate in social networking activities using the most basic mobile phones with or without a 3G connection.[12] It is a service consisting of a multi-user environment, including software and websites. After only a few weeks of its launch, Kolony recorded a total of 1.5 million subscribers.[13][14]

Magic SIM[edit]

On 4 June 2015, Celcom launched its latest Xpax limited edition simcard package, the Magic SIM. A RM5 Xpax Magic SIM starter pack comes with free basic internet, free 200 MB of high-speed internet, and 20 free minutes free calls and SMS or SMS to Celcom numbers.[15]

Xpax #NoKelentong[edit]

On 19 December 2016, Celcom revamped its prepaid plan with the more simplified XPAX #NoKelentong. It removes data restrictions on application usage, 4G only weekend data and off-peak only data.[16][17]

Celcom Home Wireless[edit]

On 15 March 2018, Celcom launched postpaid home wireless broadband.[18][19]


On 30 January 2018, Celcom launched Yoodo, a brand marketed as a hybrid of conventional prepaid and postpaid mobile plans.[20]

Current developments[edit]

Celcom is the Malaysian partner of the Vodafone mobile community. Celcom's past CEO, Dato’ Seri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly, had been with Celcom since 2005. Ramly left on 31 August 2016 to become the CEO of Telekom Malaysia on 1 May 2017.[21] Michael Kuehner was appointed as the current CEO of Celcom with effective on 1 September 2016.[22]

Demerger from Telekom Malaysia[edit]

On 28 September 2007, Telekom Malaysia announced a revamp of its mobile communication units which include Celcom. The revamp plan was to group Celcom under TM International, which houses other TM regional mobile units and defines it as a separate business entity. The restructuring exercise was completed by Q1 2008 and the new business unit listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange by Q2 2008.[23][24][25][26]

TM International was renamed as Axiata Group[27] as part of a telecom consortium in Southeast Asia. Its stock exchange code is AXIATA.

Merger Possibility with Telekom Malaysia[edit]

In January 2018, Celcom Axiata Bhd CEO Michael Kuehner said the proposed merger between Telekom Malaysia and Axiata Group 'made sense', but it is still up to the shareholders to make the final decision.[28]


As of the first quarter of 2018, Celcom has 9.6 million subscribers in Malaysia. Celcom subscribers dropped from 10.25 million in Q12017.[29]

In that quarter, Celcom's ARPU for postpaid was RM87, and prepaid ARPU stood at RM34.[30]

Axiata and Telenor in Talks to Merge Asian Operations[edit]

In 2019, The Edge reported that Axiata Group Bhd and Norwegian Telenor Group are in talks to merge their operations in Asia. It is learnt that post-merger, Axiata will be a shareholder of the merged entity, which is expected to be an investment holding company that owns the enlarged regional mobile service operation.[31]


  1. ^ "Mobile Services".
  2. ^ "Reasons Celcom can't achieve 100% coverage".
  3. ^ "Annual Report 2016" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Axiata Group swings to $37.2m Q1 loss".
  5. ^ "Celcom Axiata ties up with Ericsson and Huawei to upgrade LTE network".
  6. ^ "Celcom Axiata Mobile Subscribers now stands at 9.67 million as of 3Q17".
  7. ^ "Celcom Unveils Most Comprehensive Wap Service". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Ericsson & Huawei are the new Celcom 4G LTE Network Partners, LTE-A deployment by 31st October".
  9. ^ "Celcom Doubled Industry Growth in All Key Areas". Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  10. ^ Record quarter for Celcom | The Malay Mail
  11. ^ "XPAX". Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  12. ^ Kolony Archived 11 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Marketing, Celcom releases Kolony infestation
  14. ^ Akeeba Backup Installer 3.6.12[permanent dead link]. Adoimagazine.com. Retrieved on 18 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Celcom Axiata's Xpax unveils Magic SIM". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Celcom unveils new Xpax prepaid with hashtag #NoKelentong]". Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Xpax Prepaid now simplified with #NoKelentong". Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Celcom now offering Home Wireless plans for up to 64 devices, 150GB in data and 1TB in Walla". Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Celcom Home Wireless". Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  20. ^ "What is Yoodo". Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  21. ^ "TM names Shazalli as new MD and group CEO". Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Axiata firm on Kuehner's appointment as new CEO of Celcom Axiata". Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  23. ^ "UPDATE 2-Malaysia's TM International falls on debut". Reuters. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Annual Report 2007" (PDF). Telekom Malaysia. pp. 16–19. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Telekom Malaysia to split mobile and fixed-line ops into two firms". AsiaOne. 28 September 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  26. ^ "Telekom's foreign strategic partner may emerge after revamp". The Star (Malaysia). 29 September 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  27. ^ "Name Change". LBO. 16 April 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  28. ^ "TM, Axiata Merger makes sense, says Celcom CEO". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  29. ^ Sharmila Ganapathy. "1Q18 roundup: Telcos see subscribers, service revenue decline". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  30. ^ "Celcom Mobile Subscribers now at 9.56 million at the end of 2017 (4Q17)". Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  31. ^ "Axiata and Telenor in talks to merge Asian operations". Retrieved 6 May 2019.

External links[edit]