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In the race to adopt 5G, Singapore rolls out its second network

Singtel will offer 5G services at speeds of more than 1Gbps in a three-month trial.

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Singaporean telco Singtel launched its 5G non-standalone network with a three-month trial for consumer and enterprise customers, providing speeds of more than 1Gbps, the firm announced on Tuesday.

The first 20,000 customers will enjoy free 5G connectivity and an additional 10GB of local data. Beyond this, other customers can also purchase the trial for SGD 10 (USD 7) a month.

“With COVID-19 driving everyone online and dramatically increasing our reliance on digital services to work, learn, and play, 5G is set to be a huge enabler in our lives in this new normal,” said consumer CEO Yuen Kuan Moon.

Singtel is not the first telco in Singapore to offer 5G services to its customers. On August 18, its competitor StarHub rolled out its own 5G network. StarHub’s 5G signals cover approximately 53% of Singapore’s populated areas and are expected to reach 70% by September 2020.

Singapore aims to deploy 5G nationwide by 2025. In June, the government awarded licenses to Singtel, a joint venture by StarHub and M1, as well as TPG Telecom to operate 5G networks in the country. While Singtel and StarHub-M1 selected Ericsson and Nokia, respectively, as their main network providers, TPG Telecom, which is only allowed to provide spot coverage, opted for Huawei.

The future is here

5G provides greater bandwidth, reduced latency, and network speeds of more than 10 times faster than 4G, paving the way for newer technologies like autonomous driving, internet of things, and big data. Last November, China launched the world’s largest 5G network, with three state-run telcos establishing 5G services in 50 cities.

Countries are racing to adopt 5G technology, especially in the wake of COVID-19, which has increased strain on communication networks and strengthened demand for newer technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. In May, Thailand was the first country to deploy 5G services in Southeast Asia. According to a report by management consulting firm Kearney, operators are expected to invest approximately USD 10 billion in 5G networks across the region by 2025.