Regional mobile roaming is set to significantly improve in Asia Pacific as nations in the region have come together to meet the burgeoning demand for mobile broadband.

Four nations, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, have announced their decision to align with the Asia Pacific Telecommunity 700 MHz (APT 700 MHz) band plan.

The APT 700 MHz band plan allows greater flexibility for the deployment of mobile broadband services, using technologies such as 4G.

The participating nations believe the harmonised use of the 700 MHz band for mobile broadband will not only improve regional mobile roaming but will also provide more competitive mobile broadband services to customers.

"It will enable greater interoperability and facilitate international roaming between networks," said Hj Yahkup Hj Menudin, chief executive of the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI). "Cross border co-ordination can be further enhanced as we adopt the same band plan. In addition, there will be economies of scale for the cost of mobile broadband equipment and devices."

Wider coverage, improved indoor service

The 700 MHz band enables wider coverage and improved indoor service for the customers.

This should be welcomed in all these Asia Pacific nations as they expect an increase in mobile broadband data traffic due to the rise in the number of mobile subscribers and increase in popularity of "bandwidth-hungry" applications.

The 700 MHz band offers large bandwidth of spectrum, improves data rates for mobile broadband and addresses problems associated with increase in mobile broadband data traffic.

This alliance will lead to regional harmonisation and will encourage greater cohesion technologically and socially among nations in the Asia Pacific region.

"I hope that this collaboration could be further extended to other countries in this region, as this will help improve regional mobile roaming and allow the countries to meet growing demand for mobile broadband," said Leong Keng Thai, director-general (Telecoms & Post), the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).