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Singtel bolsters LTE network as Singapore gears up for 5G

Southeast Asia’s largest telco is delivering peak data transmission speeds of up to 800Mbps in Singapore’s prime shopping belt

Singapore telco Singtel is enhancing its LTE-Advanced network in phases this year in the run-up to the expected launch of 5G networks in the country by 2020.

Since 21 July 2017, users with Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphones have been able to enjoy 800Mbps peak speeds at the outdoor areas of Shaw Centre, ION Orchard and Tang Plaza on Orchard Road, Singapore’s prime shopping belt.

Full deployment at Orchard Road, Raffles Place and Clarke Quay is slated for the end of August 2017.

The near-gigabit transmission speeds were achieved by scaling pre-5G technologies, coupled with carrier aggregation of spectrum exclusive to Singtel, which worked with Ericsson on the network enhancements.

Martin Wiktorin, president of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei and Philippines, said: “In delivering Singtel’s gigabit-class LTE network, we are enabling an enhanced consumer experience as well as supporting Singapore’s smart nation vision, which will see the increase in bandwidth intensive applications.”

At 800Mbps, Singtel’s 4G network is one of Southeast Asia’s fastest, delivering up to 60% faster download speeds than prevailing LTE services.

Mark Chong, Singtel’s group chief technology officer, said: “As a leader in network innovation, we are committed to pushing the limits in network speeds, coverage and capacity, so we can continue delivering Singapore’s best mobile experience to our customers. We look forward to rolling out more network technology enhancements this year.”

Singtel was recently named the fastest telco in Singapore by Ookla, a network speed measurement company. It also touts Singapore’s widest outdoor 4G coverage as rated by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) for 10 consecutive quarters.

Read more about 5G

In May 2017, the IMDA said it would waive the frequency fees for 5G trials in a bid to lower regulatory barriers and encourage the industry to test the next-generation mobile technology.

It had also identified several spectrum bands – from 800MHz to 86GHz – that might be suitable for 5G deployments in Singapore.

Singapore’s minister for communications and information Yaacob Ibrahim had said the deployment of 5G networks will help to multiply the potential of internet of things, which would require interconnection and autonomous exchange of data between electronic devices or machines.

He also said the IMDA will work with the industry to develop and put in place key components of future-ready and resilient communications infrastructure that will benefit consumers and business across industries.

In a public consultation paper, the IMDA said it was seeking industry feedback on various aspects of 5G technology development and spectrum requirements in a data centric environment, and the increasing heterogeneity of networks using unlicensed and licensed spectrum bands.

Feedback received from this public consultation would assist the IMDA in developing the necessary policies to facilitate the deployment of more innovative and advanced mobile technology, networks and services in Singapore, it said.

Read more on Telecoms networks and broadband communications

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