Saturday 27 October 2018

5G Development and Progress in Singapore

The Singapore regulator IMDA (Info-communications Media Development Authority) recently presented at ITU-APT 26-28 GHz India 5G spectrum Workshop. This blog contains a summary of the presentation by Mr. Henry Foo, Senior Assistant Director in Policy, Regulation & Competition Development Group, IMDA.

To encourage 5G testing and development in Singapore, IMDA has waived any fees associated with spectrum during the trials. It is also doing co-existence trials with other stakeholders and spectrum in the 3.5GHz and 28GHz bands.

Remember that as pointed out in the tweet above, there is a possibility of interference between 4G & 5G. Singapore already has 1800 MHz (1.8 GHz) in use for LTE so trials need to identify the interference between 1.8 & 3.5 GHz.
As with most other countries, its looking at 700 MHz for coverage layer, 3.5 GHz for capacity layer and 26, 28 & 38 GHz for high throughput layer.

The operators in Singapore (M1, Singtel, Starhub) have similar concerns to operators elsewhere. How do you recover the investments in LTE before investing further into 5G? What are the killer use cases for 5G that will be a source for additional new revenue?
5G small cells are foreseen to play a big role in the mmWave spectrum for providing high throughput in low-mobility scenarios. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is another technology being trialed. FWA is going to be an interesting use case because Fiber to the home and premises (FTTH/FTTP) is easily available there with speeds upto 10 Gbps.

Back in July, Singtel announced that it will launch by the fourth quarter of this year Singapore’s first 5G pilot network at one-north, the country’s science, business and IT hub along with Ericsson. The pilot network can deliver 5G coverage with enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) speed and low latency communications.
"Singtel and Ericsson are planning drone and autonomous vehicle trials on their 5G pilot network later this year at one-north and other designated areas. Enterprises can use the network to develop new 5G use cases and tap the business potential of 5G." 

M1 is working with Huawei & Nokia for 5G. First announcement with Huawei
M1 Limited (M1) and Huawei today announced plans to jointly showcase innovative 5G use cases in Singapore, starting with the live demonstration of 360-view Virtual Reality (VR) content broadcast by end of June this year. The demonstration, using 5G equipment setup at M1’s MiWorld building in Jurong, is Singapore’s first end-to-end 5G live trial using Huawei’s 5G equipment operating at the 28GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) frequency band.

The next announcement with Nokia, a day later.
M1 Limited (M1) and Nokia today announced plans to conduct Nokia’s first 5G small cell trial in Southeast Asia. The two companies will also showcase demand-driven 5G use cases in selected vertical industries which require dedicated small cell capacity and very low latency IoT connectivity. 
Leveraging on M1’s engineering experience in deploying an extensive 4.5G Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) at traffic hotspots throughout Singapore, this 5G small cell trial marks another important milestone in M1 and Nokia’s joint efforts in staying at the forefront of the  latest technology developments. The findings from this live trial will provide valuable practical learnings for the commercial deployment of 5G small cells in a dense cell grid architecture and operating at very high 5G frequency bands.

Starhub upgraded their LTE network to Gigabit LTE (4.5G or LTE-A Pro) back in April. It has announced that it will be switching on limited 5G by the end of the year.
"StarHub and Nokia have signed a multi-year agreement under which Nokia will deploy network upgrades using its advanced radio access, small cells, virtualised core and IP routing technologies as well as its cloud orchestration and signalling, network management, security, IoT, self-organising network and session border controller software."
Other operators from Southeast Asia a keenly watching 5G developments in Singapore to decide their way forward.

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