Singtel, Ericsson to launch “5G” pilot network in Singapore this year

Singtel and Ericsson will launch what is touted as Singapore’s first “5G” pilot network later this year.  The 5G pilot network, scheduled to go live by the fourth quarter this year, will be deployed at one-north in Buona Vista, the city-state’s science, business and IT hub.  Later this year, the network will support trials of drones and autonomous vehicle wireless communications – applications where  very low latency is required.

Singtel and Ericsson will also work with enterprises at one-north to develop new 5G use cases and tap into the business potential of 5G.

NOTE:  The press release incorrectly states: “Ericsson’s 3GPP standards compliant 5G technology….”  As we have noted in many, many posts, 3GPP specifications are not standards and the 3GPP “5G” submission to ITU-R WP 5D for IMT 2020 won’t be completed till July 2019.

“5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries, as well as empower consumers with innovative applications,” Singtel CTO Mark Chong said.  “We are pleased to take another bold step in our journey to 5G with our 5G pilot network at one-north and invite enterprises to start shaping their digital future with us,”  Chong added.

He told The Straights Times (see photo below):

“The location is in line with the government’s initiative to designate one-north as a test bed for autonomous vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems. For a start, we plan to conduct a drone trial on the pilot network to showcase network slicing capability.”

Aileen Chia, deputy chief executive and director-general (Telecoms & Post) at  Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), described the 5G pilot network as “an encouraging step towards commercialization, with live 5G trial networks made possible with the regulatory sandbox IMDA has in place…IMDA will continue to work closely with mobile service providers such as Singtel in their journey to build communication capabilities of the future and complement Singapore’s efforts towards a vibrant digital economy.”

Last year, IMDA announced plans to let Singapore telcos test 5G services for free over two years and waived frequency fees for 5G trials until December 2019, as part of efforts to fuel 5G development in Singapore.

At the launch event on Monday, July 23rd,  Singtel and Ericsson demonstrated a range of potential 5G use cases, including cutting-edge 3D augmented reality (AR) streaming over a 5G network operating in the 28-GHz millimeter wave spectrum. Participants were able to view and interact with lifelike virtual objects such as a photorealistic human anatomy and a 360-degree image of the world. The immersive experience was then streamed in real-time to a remote audience via 5G.

“5G represents a key mobile technology evolution, opening up new possibilities and applications,” said Mr Martin Wiktorin, Country Manager for Ericsson Singapore, Brunei & the Philippines. “We believe that 5G will play a key role in the digital transformation of the Singapore economy. Demonstrating the possibilities in this showcase event will be a catalyst for engagements with Singapore enterprises.”

Image courtesy of Singapore Straights Times.


The 5G pilot network is the result of a joint 5G initiative Singtel and Ericsson formed last year. In October 2017, the two companies set up a joint Certificate of Entitlement (CoE) to develop 5G technology, with an initial investment of $2 million to be deployed over three years.

Besides Singtel, Singapore’s other mobile carriers have also begun conducting their own 5G trials. M1 said last month it has partnered with Huawei to run tests in the 28-GHz mmWave spectrum, with plans to conduct the first 3.5-GHz non-standalone standards compliant field trial in Southeast Asia by the end of the year, and a 28-GHz and 3.5-GHz standalone field trial by mid-2019.  StarHub  is also working with Huawei on its 5G network trials.’


6 thoughts on “Singtel, Ericsson to launch “5G” pilot network in Singapore this year

  1. South Asia’s first test run of fifth generation (5G) mobile internet took place in Dhaka yesterday when download speeds of up to 4.17 gigabits per second were experienced.

    Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy witnessed the speed on a mobile device at “Bangladesh 5G Summit 2018” at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka and expressed satisfaction.

    Joy said Bangladesh would be one of the first countries to deploy 5G technology. “This is my promise for the next election,” he said, pointing out that the government had kept its last pre-election pledge of making 4G available.

  2. Australia’s 5G network will be ‘made in China’ despite Huawei ban

    Huawei has hit back against a potential ban on its involvement in building Australia’s 5G mobile networks, saying there will be a Chinese influence in the infrastructure regardless of the government’s decision.

    In recent months, Huawei and other Chinese companies’ involvement in building the next generation of mobile telecommunications in Australia has become increasingly controversial.

    Huawei has been accused of spying by United States lawmakers and criticised over its involvement with the Chinese military and government.

    However, Huawei Australia and New Zealand director of corporate and public affairs Jeremy Mitchell said banning the company from being a supplier of Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure would be “ridiculous” and would “decimate” the industry.

    “The point I want to make about this idea that ‘ban Huawei and then you’ll make the Australian security of the 5G network safe’ is ridiculous in the sense that this is not about one vendor. It’s not even about one country,” Mr Mitchell said at a CommsDay Unwired Revolution conference yesterday.

    He pointed to Nokia’s involvement in the National Broadband Network, as a major supplier, noting the equipment for the NBN is “made at a factory in Shanghai that is owned by the Chinese government”. Nokia has a controlling stake in its joint venture in China, while other major telco suppliers, like Ericsson, also have factories in China.

    “With or without Huawei, the Australian 5G network will be made in China,” he said. “We’ve got to be sensible about it and there are only two countries in the world that have actually banned Huawei, the United States and Australia,” he said.

    “You remove the largest supplier of wireless networks in this country and I don’t care if it’s Huawei, but if you remove Nokia, or you remove Ericsson … what will that do to this industry? It will decimate it.”

    He pointed to higher prices in the US, suggesting this was a result of banning Huawei’s involvement in building network. Industry sources are sceptical of this claim, saying there are many reasons prices vary in the telco space.

    Government-owned Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings noted concerns about a Chinese national security law passed in 2017 requiring its companies to co-operate with its intelligence services.

    “So when [the Australian] government sits down to consider the context of Huawei, or indeed any other Chinese company operating within the Australian context, the first thing they think about is that broader picture of China becoming more authoritarian and aggressive internationally,” Mr Jennings said.

  3. Telekom, Ericsson launch National 5G Energy Hub research project

    Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson and the German universities TU Dresden and RWTH Aachen have signed a cooperation agreement launching their “National 5G Energy Hub” lighthouse project, a three-phase, large-scale project supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy (BMWi).

    The project aims to bring together researchers in engineering, electronics and communications technology over the next ten years and bundle their expertise and know-how to find new applications for the 5G mobile communications standards in energy technology, including building engineering technology, said the TU Dresden.

    The project partners will focus on the structural introduction of radio-based data transmission techniques in energy technology during the first of the project’s three phases, including all steps of the value chain from thermally oriented building power supplies up through electrical distribution networks. The project’s core partners will receive additional support from the associate partners E.ON, Techem, the city of Dresden and the association of building technologies (VDZ). (tiered subscription model)

  4. The Ericsson CTO identified enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless as amongst the first 5G bright spots for Ericsson. “The beauty of fixed wireless,” he told Light Reading Thursday, is that it lessens the need for fiber. With wide carriers (radio channels) and narrow beams (i.e., beamforming) — “spotlight beams” as Ekudden calls them — able to deliver multi-megabit to gigabit speeds, high-speed and efficient fixed wireless is now possible, where it wasn’t before, Ekudden said.

    Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
    Light Reading.
    “It’s now financially and technically viable,” the CTO said, particularly as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (5G NR) specs make it possible to use the same infrastructure for both fixed and mobile 5G services. According to the CTO, high-band 5G equipment could deliver a high-speed data connection from a small cell sited 200-300 feet from antennas installed at customers’ homes. In this scenario, an operator such as Verizon would save money by serving multiple premises without having to dig up the customers’ front yards for a cable run.

    “I’m not advocating universal build-out of fixed [wireless 5G],” Ekudden hastens to add. “There are fewer operators that are planning for fixed wireless.”

    But in the US, both Verizon and T-Mobile US Inc. have launched — or are planning to launch — 5G home broadband services (using fixed wireless capabilities) along with mobile 5G services. Mobile services are expected in the first of 2019 for T-Mobile, and “sometime” in 2019 for Verizon. (See T-Mobile: 6 of Top 10 US Markets Ready for Our 5G in 2019.)

    Ericsson, like its vendor rivals, is also expecting the Internet of Things to be a massive part of the 5G age: Ericsson is predicting there will be 3.5 billion “cellular IoT” devices in use by 2023. That’s a big number, but not as ambitious as many other predictions seen for 5G and IoT.

    “Most of that number is China,” explains the CTO.

    The low-power, wide-area aspect of 5G can be supported now. Technologies like narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) or Cat M LTE can be used “in-band” in 3GPP-compliant 5G NR deployments. A crucial part of the industry vision for “Critical IoT,” however, won’t be able to be supported until the end of 2019 with NR/Phase 2 (Release 16), which means the earliest commercial equipment will become available sometime in 2020.

    This “ultra reliable low latency” upgrade for Release 16 is crucial for the millisecond latency needed for everything from self-driving cars, to automated product lines, to supporting more sophisicated thin client devices. Like rival Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Ericsson is gearing up for this IoT industrial sector to be a money-spinner for the company in 5G — just not yet. (See Nokia Reveals Future X Network Project.)

  5. Ericsson, has completed a mobile network expansion project in the South East region of Ethiopia, which it interrupted due to a disagreement with Ethio Telecom sometime ago. The mobile expansion project was supposed to be completed in December 2016. However, due to a disagreement with the former management of Ethio Telecom, Ericsson suspended the project.

    In a press conference held on Tuesday, CEO of Ethio Telecom, Frehiwot Tamru, disclosed that at the beginning of the budget year Ericsson decided to pull out of Ethiopia. Frehiwot said after a series of negotiations Ericsson agreed to resume work with Ethio Telecom.

    Accordingly, Ericsson completed the mobile network expansion project in South East region covering Bishoftu, Modjo and Adama towns. As a result we are able to accommodate additional data traffic,” Frehiwot said. We are undertaking mobile network expansion projects in Ericsson site” in Hawassa, Jimma and Adama towns where there is a traffic congestion,” she added.

    Frehiwot said that the negotiation with Ericsson took a long time. However, she said, finally the two parties have agreed to work together. Ericsson supplied all the telecom equipment required to undertake the mobile network expansion project.

    According to Ethio Telecom, the number of telephone subscribers has reached 43.6 million. The tele density stood at 44.5 percent. Of the total 43.6 million subscribers, 41.92 million are mobile voice subscribers, 22.3 million data and internet users and 1.2 million fixed line service subscribers.

    According to Frehiwot, globally the trend shows that voice traffic declined by 11 percent while data traffic increased by a whopping 130 percent in Ethiopia.

    The quality of the mobile network is shaky. To improve the quality of mobile service the new management of Ethio Telecom is undertaking mobile network expansion projects.

    According to Frehiwot, the company is currently working on 11 sites in Addis Ababa and its environs. The challenge we are facing is securing site locations on time,” she said. However, she said that the company has secured eight sites and is undertaking the civil works. These are the projects that require tower. We have completed work on expansion projects on hardware and software. As a result we are able to accommodate 30-40 percent additional traffic,” she added.

    Ethio Telecom has made a tariff discount amounting to 40-50 percent that increased the data traffic by 130 percent. Incoming international calls have also increase substantially. Ethio Telecom used to handle 200,000 incoming international calls daily this has surged to 2.2 million after Ethio Telecom introduced a significant discount on its termination fee. The state monopoly earned a profit of 24.5 billion birr in the budget year that ended in June 2019.

    Chinese telecom giants, Huawei Technologies Co LTD and ZTE Corp, are undertaking mobile network expansion project. The total cost of the mobile network expansion project is estimated at 1.6 billion dollars.

    Frehiwot said that ZTE and Huawei are Ethiopia’s strategic partners. Asked by journalists about the impacts of the US sanctions on Huawei, Frehiwot said that since Huawei has been actively engaged in telecom infrastructure development projects in Ethiopia, Ethio Telecom and Huawei are jointly studying the possible impacts of the US sanctions on the company that may have repercussions on Ethiopia’s telecom infrastructure.

    Ethio Telecom has developed a three-year telecom development strategy, which was approved by the board of directors last week. Ethio Telecom board is chaired by Temesgen Tiruneh, who was recently appointed as president of the Amhara Regional State.

    The Ethiopian government has enacted a new law that enables it to liberalize the telecom sector. The 125-year-old state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, would be partially privatized and additional two international telecom operators would join the local telecom market through a competitive bid. The government has hired international consulting firms that would undertake asset valuation of Ethio Telecom.

    Ethio telecom is an integrated telecommunications solutions provider operating the whole of Ethiopia.

Comments are closed.