Malaysia’s telecom giant to set foundation for Digital Pakistan

A Malaysian telecommunications infrastructure services provider would invest up to US$250 million in next five years to introduce innovations and support faster, better and more cost-efficient shared network throughout Pakistan.

The edotco Group has already invested US $100 million to establish and grow local operations and planning to invest around US $50-60 million annually for next five years to transform the telecommunication industry towards achieving digital Pakistan ambitions with smart solutions.

The plan was revealed by Board of Directors Chairman Edotco Group of Malaysia Datuk Azzat Kamaluddin, who called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Friday.

Besides Dr Nik Ramlah Nik Mehmood, Suresh Narain Singh Sidhu and Arif Hussain, High Commissioner of Malaysia Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim, Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Haroon Sharif and Secretary Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera were also present in the meeting.

Edotco Group Malaysia chairman appreciated the vision of PM Imran as well as the policies being pursued by the present government and added that Edotco wanted to become partner in Digital Pakistan Program.

The prime minister highlighted the various steps being taken to improve the Ease of Doing Business in Pakistan and assured that all possible facilitation would be provided to investors.

Top edotco officials have claimed to be Pakistan's largest independent tower operator with 850 towers to date and envisaging having 20,000 to 30,000 towers i.e. 20-30 per cent in near future to enable services providers to efficiently meet their growing infrastructure requirements.

“We want to pay taxes and we need a conducive environment for investment, cost-effective infrastructure system i.e. incentives for infrastructure,” the CEO said in a statement.

The edotco official said that 3G/4G is faster in Pakistan but urged for sharing telecom infrastructure to make tower infrastructure cost-effective.

The Group is committed to laying foundations of a 5G-ready Pakistan but it requires prerequisites including fiberization, better smartphone penetration as well as spectrum availability and policies on part of government.

They said currently, around 6 percent of towers in the country are fiber connected while smartphone penetration stands at 31 per cent. 5G would help in fast technology-based facilities.

They said that with an encouraging rise in Pakistan's smartphone penetration and increase in overall mobile and usage, edotco sees potential to advance current telecommunication landscape to meet growing demands.

With a strong presence and committed investment in the country, edotco has reaffirmed its plans for creating an agile and future-ready telecommunications infrastructure industry in Pakistan, said edotco's officials while sharing Group's strategy to improve country's telecommunications sector whilst setting for a Digital Pakistan.

Moreover, they said to meet projected fivefold spike in mobile data usage, Pakistan's telecommunications industry will need over 30,000 new tower sites by 2022, double of what it has now. The new sites will be coverage sites to extend connectivity to rural and hard to reach areas, as well as capacity sites, to meet increasing data usage growth, as more users transition from 3G to 4G and beyond.

The Group is keen to partner with local ecosystem towards transforming telecommunications landscape. To date, edotco has invested over US $ 100 million to establish and grow its local operations.

Pakistan and Malaysia have shared a healthy bilateral relationship and we look forward to leading way in telecommunications investment while playing a part in achieving the country's digital agenda, they added.

Established in 2012, edotco is the first regional and integrated telecommunications infrastructure services company in Asia, providing end-to-end solutions in the tower services sector from tower leasing, co-locations, build-to-suit, energy, transmission and operations and maintenance (O&M).

edotco operates and manages a regional portfolio of over 28,500 towers across core markets of Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan with 17,500 towers directly operated by edotco and a further 11,000 towers managed through a range of services provided. edotco strives to deliver outstanding performance in telecommunications infrastructure services and solutions. Its state-of-the-art real-time monitoring service, echo, has driven significant improvements in field operations while maximizing operational efficiencies in terms of battery, energy and fuel consumption for telecommunications infrastructure.

edotco Group was recently awarded the Frost & Sullivan 2017 Asia Pacific Telecoms Tower Company of the Year Award for its demonstrated exemplary business growth and performance in Southeast Asia.

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