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StarHub and U Mobile conduct 5G SA roaming trials

Leading Asian telcos team up to gather 5G roaming insights and establish key aspects, such as the right network configurations and settings, to ensure optimum experience when 5G rolls out commercially

In an exercise said to be one of the first of its kind in the world, Singapore’s StarHub and U Mobile of Malaysia have announced plans to conduct one of the world’s first 5G standalone (5G SA) roaming trials.

The 5G SA roaming trials will be done completely independent of 4G network infrastructure, differing from most other roaming trials which uses 5G non-standalone technology.

Through the testing process, the telcos will monitor performance and gather insights to help them establish key aspects such as the right network configurations and settings to ensure what the two call “seamless” 5G roaming experience for customers when 5G rolls out commercially. The telcos will also be looking into aspects such as the right commercial price point for 5G roaming in both countries.

The first 5G SA roaming trials between StarHub and U Mobile are slated to take place in the first quarter of 2020. The trials, conducted in collaboration with leading global 5G technology provider Huawei, will include use cases such as live cross-border holographic calls and multi-party video calls.

Cross-border trials are a hugely important aspect of the tests given that StarHub’s always-on lifestyles transcend national boundaries, said the company’s chief technology officer, Chong Siew Loong.

“When 5G arrives, we want to continue to deliver the same best-in-Singapore connectivity to customers wherever they may be,” he said.

“There is no better place to start 5G roaming trials than in Malaysia, our closest neighbour and one of our customers’ top travel destinations. Collaborating with U Mobile on 5G is part of a journey to push the limits of innovation for customers to enjoy the best service experience.”

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U Mobile chief technology officer Woon Ooi Yuen said the partnership could see new use cases being developed. “U Mobile has been aggressively expanding our network and we are rapidly catching up to our older peers, even garnering the title of being the most improved mobile operator in Malaysia,” he said.

“In this growth trajectory, we are also making 5G a huge priority. These 5G SA trials will not only benefit the business and travel communities that regularly commute between the two countries; we also think it will be beneficial to the healthcare industry as 5G SA may enable remote surgery to be done across borders.”

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