Digi is planning to take advantage of the recent spectrum refarming exercise by rolling out its newly acquired 900MHz band. The rollout is expected to begin in July, with Digi targeting “key market sites” and locations that will be best for its customers.
Chief Network Office Kesavan Sivabalan explained that Digi aims to be the best network for entertainment, be it in gaming or for streaming media. Because of this, the telco is less concerned with pushing internet speeds and focuses on building a network that provides a consistent experience with very little lag or buffering.
The 900MHz band plays a role in this as it has a longer wavelength, making it ideal for providing a consistent signal inside buildings. However, this also means that it may not be able to achieve the theoretical highest speed available to the current 4G standards.
Kesavan admitted that Digi’s indoor coverage has been historically less than ideal, and attributed this to the lack of access to the long wavelength spectrum. From July onwards, Digi customers in selected areas should see their indoor coverage improve substantially.
The nature of the 900MHz band also allows telco towers to cover more range. This doesn’t quite mean much for urban areas, but allows Digi to expand its coverage without having to build a large number of new towers. As was explained during the press conference, it would take two 1800MHz towers to cover the same area as a single 900MHz tower. This may have been a gross simplification of the science, but it works as a functional example of how the spectrum will be deployed.
Improved coverage and network stability is not the only change coming to Digi. The company is also set to rollout VoWiFi very soon. Voice-over-WiFi, or VoWiFi, is a technology that allows users to make calls over WiFi networks; similar to VoLTE. Ideally, this is meant to cater to people who work inside buildings where the call quality is poor; and falls within Digi’s goal of providing better indoor coverage.
Kesavan refused to provide an exact date, but instead said that Digi is trying to get it out within Q1 2017. Considering that the amount of time is rapidly diminishing, we would say that it is due very soon.