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Singtel rolls out 5G trial network for enterprises

Singtel is providing enterprises with early access to its 5G standalone network at its testing facility to test and develop new 5G applications

Singtel has deployed Singapore’s first 5G standalone (SA) trial network to provide enterprises with early access to the technology and to develop and test 5G applications at no charge.

The network uses the 3.5GHz spectrum and Ericsson’s massive Mimo (multiple-input multiple-output) technology to deliver ultra-fast speeds and low-latency or response times.

Located at Singtel’s 5G Garage testing facility, the trial network is already being used by cloud gaming provider Ubitus to conduct a 5G cloud gaming trial which delivered 85% lower latency of between 8 to 11 milliseconds compared to cloud gaming on 4G networks.

Using Singtel’s multi-access edge computing (MEC) platform, which integrates 5G’s ultra-low latency and high bandwidth capabilities with powerful cloud computing performance, rich graphics could be processed on dedicated servers and transferred directly to devices, significantly cutting lag times.

“Covid-19 has brought a new urgency to digital transformation for many sectors. Having unveiled our first 5G use case with our 24/7 unmanned pop-up retail store in September, our 5G SA trial network offers enterprises from across industries the opportunity to develop and test applications to accelerate automation and digitalisation,” said Bill Chang, CEO of Singtel’s enterprise group.

“With 5G’s low latency and scalability, enterprises can not only drive efficiencies and make better and more cost-effective decisions but also deliver richer customer experiences. The launch of this 5G SA trial network is also an important step as we get ready for commercial 5G,” he added.

Singtel is pitching its MEC platform as an enabler for 5G applications that require low latency performance. These include remote surgery, smart manufacturing, autonomous driving, remote robotic repair and maintenance and virtual reality-enabled live concerts.

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By removing the need for data to be sent to public clouds to be processed and sent back, Singtel said MEC would not only be able to better serve mission critical data connectivity, it also lets enterprises optimise their total cost of ownership for hosting, dedicated link provisioning and data transfer.

Since the launch of 5G Garage with Ericsson and Singapore Polytechnic in January 2019, Singtel has developed 10 use cases for 5G together with over 20 start-ups and enterprises in areas such as robotics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and drones.

The telco also collaborated with Singapore’s port operator PSA to test maritime 5G use cases to optimise port operations at the future Tuas Port and is working with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre, and JTC to develop and test advanced 5G-powered manufacturing solutions.

Singapore has been conducting several 5G trials to speed up innovation in its economic sectors. To date, there are six consortia testing 5G applications in areas such as smart estates to consumer gaming.

The most recent trial was announced in May 2020 by a consortium comprising IMDA, IBM, Samsung and M1, to test the use of 5G in manufacturing and other industries.

In August 2020, StarHub kicked off its 5G commercial trial for consumers and businesses, with mobile coverage spanning roughly half the city-state at launch. It is now facilitating the development of 5G use cases with multiple enterprise partners covering areas such as healthcare, retail, urban solutions and advanced manufacturing.

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