CelcomDigi used the release of its first full quarter of post-merger earnings to outline a three-year network integration plan designed to expand 4G coverage while reducing the number of base stations by as much as a third.

The operator plans to decommission 7,000 sites and build 2,000 new ones to increase population coverage by 2 percentage points to 98 per cent.

Celcom and Digi each owned about 12,000 sites, which the merged company aims to cut to between 16,000 and 18,000 in total.

The moves are expected to reduce network operating costs by MYR5.5 billion ($1.2 billion) over three years and IT expenses by MYR1.1 billion.

CelcomDigit booked net profit of MYR321 million in Q1 compared with a combined figure of MYR499 million in the comparable period of 2022, due to a spike in depreciation and amortisation costs.

Service revenue remained at MYR2.7 billion.

Capex dropped 83 per cent to MYR108 million.

It ended March with 20.3 million mobile subscribers, making it the largest in Malaysia by that metric.