Singtel is ramping up its 5G efforts, deploying hundreds of 5G standalone (SA) sites across Singapore in areas such as Orchard Road, the Central Business District, Harbourfront and Sentosa, and releasing 5G SA-compatible SIM cards.
Moreover, the Singapore telecommunications giant is also progressively expanding its 5G in-building coverage, which began with VivoCity, to more indoor sites, starting with Ngee Ann City and selected Singtel Shops across Singapore.
5G SA technology is differentiated from 5G non-standalone (NSA) technology because it is built end-to-end on a true 5G core, whereas 5G NSA infrastructure makes use of existing LTE or 4G core network technology.
Since last September, Singtel has been operating its 5G NSA network under a market trial, offering 5G speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps.
Now, with the 5G SA sites, which employ the 3.5GHz spectrum, the company claims it will be able to deliver faster speeds and lower latency.
To deliver 5G SA speeds, Singtel has upgraded its 5G radio access network with radio technologies designed to connect to a cloud-native standalone 5G core network, enabling it to run 5G independently.
The network will soon offer network slicing capabilities, which allow for the dynamic distribution and optimisation of network resources to support a wide range of applications, the company said.
The telco has also started issuing 5G SA-compatible SIM cards to customers in preparation for its 5G SA commercial launch.
“We are ready to usher in a new era of connectivity with 5G SA and introduce our customers to the transformational benefits of blazing fast speeds and ultra-responsive connections which will elevate their everyday experiences,” said Anna Yip, CEO, consumer Singapore, Singtel.
“Our engineers are working in earnest with key handset manufacturers to complete testing and prepare the next-generation network for commercial launch.
“As our 5G network gains momentum and evolves, we invite our customers to mark an exciting 5G milestone with us and upgrade to our new 5G SIM cards to future proof and enhance their mobile experience,” she added.
Singtel now plans to intensify its 5G SA deployment across the island in the coming months as handset manufacturers progressively roll out 5G SA software updates for existing 5G handsets and launch more 5G SA compatible models in Singapore later this year.
In February, the telco unveiled plans to launch 5G edge compute infrastructure for enterprise customers, supported by the option of Microsoft Azure Stack to deliver “fast and secure” applications.
The move was designed to allow businesses to leverage the provider’s Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) infrastructure to process applications such as autonomous guided vehicles, drones and robots, in addition to virtual, augmented or mixed reality.
Combined with high speed connectivity from Singtel’s 5G network, enterprises will be able to deliver such applications with low latency of less than 10 milliseconds, with trials beginning this year.