Singtel discloses new 5G SA uses cases for enterprises and residents in Singapore
At its ‘Powering Up Singapore With 5G’ event, Singtel (the leading network operator in Singapore) revealed a number of 5G Standalone (SA) use cases, according to a press release. The new use cases span a variety of sectors from entertainment to mobility and bring to life the benefits of 5G by redefining live, work and play experiences with blazing fast speeds and near-instantaneous response times.
Singtel said it continues to expand its 5G network, which now covers over two-thirds of Singapore, adding sites in densely populated areas like Choa Chu Kang, Punggol, Sembawang and Tampines. In addition, it has expanded its 5G indoor coverage to more major shopping malls island-wide such as Funan, West Mall, Tampines Mall, Northpoint City and Waterway Point.
Minister for Communications and Information Mrs Josephine Teo highlighted the role of 5G, “Mobile networks and data exchanges are key building blocks for the digital infrastructure. 5G, which promises to be ultra-fast and supports near-zero latency, can change the way we live and work in profound ways, and become essential for the digital developments of the future. Building a digital future is certainly about the hardware, software, systems and standards. It is equally about the people and skills. For that, the Government will continue to invest in reskilling and upskilling our people so that they can achieve not just digital literacy but digital mastery. This way, everyone can benefit from the infrastructure.”
Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO of Singtel said: “With the maturing of 5G technology, we’re excited to unlock the benefits of a 5G-enabled reality for consumers and enterprises. Its potential to transform business models and deliver enhanced products and services on a scale like never before, will spur Singapore’s digital economy as the country moves into post-COVID recovery. As part of our strategic reset to focus on 5G, we are accelerating our roll-out and the creation of new services.”
Ookla® recently declared Singtel the ‘Fastest 5G mobile operator in Singapore’ in H1 2021 for clocking in the highest median mobile network speed.
Singtel said the arrival of 5G has proved timely against a backdrop of accelerated digital adoption as a result of safe distancing and remote working. With more people using digital channels to go about their lives, there has been a corresponding increase in demand for fast and reliable connectivity. This is reflected in a recent Singtel survey, in which majority of consumers indicated that 5G-enabled services such as augmented reality books and virtual reality entertainment events appeal to them.
The new use cases powered by Singtel’s 5G SA network include:
- 5G-powered Remote Racing: Partnering with Formula Square to deliver an immersive, lag-free experience racing remote-controlled cars powered by 5G at Southside, Sentosa;
- 4K Live Streaming: Working with S.E.A. Aquarium to bring Singapore’s first underwater 5G livestream of the S.E.A. Aquarium to UNBOXED, Singtel’s unmanned pop-up retail store, where visitors can immerse themselves in the aquatic wonders of the aquarium, viewing manta rays, sharks and shoals of fishes in vivid 4K resolution;
- Enhancing the Arts and Culture Experience: Collaborating with the National Gallery Singapore and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay to deliver cultural and art experiences over 5G, from the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery and the Singtel Waterfront Theatre when it opens officially next year. This will enable more people with opportunities to get up close and personal with local artists and performers amid prevailing safe distancing measures;
- Co-creating the future of hybrid work: Teaming up with Samsung and Zoom to introduce a Productivity Data Pass plan offering data-free usage of Zoom, enabling customers to connect to family and colleagues seamlessly and lag-free. This, coupled with Samsung devices such as DeX, will enable customers to set up virtual workstations easily.
Singtel has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ericsson and global industry partners to collaborate on the development and deployment of advanced 5G enterprise solutions in Singapore. The agreement will allow companies to leverage Ericsson’s technology expertise and Singtel’s 5G network, test facilities and capabilities to innovate solutions and scale them up for global deployment.
Singtel launched its 5G SA network in May, via a partnership with South Korea’s Samsung. The 5G SA sites run on 3.5 GHz spectrum. Singtel had initially launched its 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) network in September of 2020, using spectrum in the 3.5 GHz frequency as well as existing 2.1 GHz spectrum.
As part of its 5G SA deployment, Singtel has already deployed over 1,000 5G sites across Singapore in strategic locations such as Orchard Road, the Central Business District, Marina Bay, Harbourfront and Sentosa, as well as major residential areas including Sengkang, Punggol, Pasir Ris, Jurong East and Woodlands.
Singtel also demonstrated at the event how 5G is empowering industries and businesses with greater productivity and operational efficiency. Key to this is multi-access edge computing (MEC), an infrastructure that maximizes 5G’s low latency, high bandwidth benefits and enables functions like real-time computing, data storage, data analytics and AI services at the edge. MEC supports massive and faster connectivity of devices, bringing to life more mission critical enterprise applications than before, such as real-time asset tracking and automated quality inspection in factories and smart city planning.
During the event, Guest of Honor Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications and Information and IMDA’s Chief Executive Mr Lew Chuen Hong were ‘teleported’ into the venue via Singtel’s 5G network, in which their high-resolution likeness were beamed from a separate location. The network’s ultra-low latency meant that Minister Teo and Mr Lew could ‘interact’ seamlessly with Mr Yuen on stage.
Singtel aims 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.
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Deutsche Telekom’s shift from 5G NSA to a 5G standalone core (5G SA) will be determined by the availability of use cases that require 5G unencumbered by a 4G LTE network core, CTO Walter Goldenits explained in a video update last week.
“If the first use cases are still available in 2021, then 5G standalone will come in 2021. Otherwise we will jump in 2022 at the latest,” he said. “We are always ready now, we say, and we look forward to when the first applications and devices arrive.”
Deutsche Telekom currently operates standalone 5G sites in four German cities, and it continues to test the architecture, Goldenits said. “This technology will unleash the full potential of virtual and augmented reality, mobile gaming, and industrial networking,” he said in a statement.
“However, various development steps are still necessary before the switchover is complete, as added value for our customers is our top priority — and this added value lies in providing high-speed coverage over as large an area as possible,” Goldenits explained.
On that front, the operator said it remains on track to push 5G coverage beyond 90% of the population by year end. Moreover, the operator’s mid-band 5G network, operating in the 3.6 GHz band, is available in at least 60 cities with more than 2,400 antennas deployed to date.
The carrier noted that its 5G standalone core will also allow it to upgrade infrastructure in the core to a cloud-based framework, an achievement that will underpin new applications such as network slicing and edge computing.
In the United States, T-Mobile US has taken the boldest public stand. In fact, it’s the only nationwide U.S. carrier with a Standalone 5G deployment. It launched its 5G SA network in 2020 on its 600 MHz spectrum.
In Europe, different companies are trialing 5G SA networks of their own. Deutsche Telekom and Samsung partnered earlier this year to create a 5G SA trial in Pilsen, Czech Republic, where they found 3x spectrum efficiency compared to LTE. On its home turf, Deutsche Telekom built a 5G SA radio site in Garching, near Munich, and said that it will soon be connected to a 5G SA core network. In nearby Austria, operator Drei has begun trials of a 5G SA core network operating on 700 MHz and 1500 MHz frequencies at its headquarters in Vienna’s Floridsodorf district.
In France, Orange is testing a 5G SA network with several partners including Mavenir, Casa Systems, Dell, and Xiaomi. The network has been deployed first in the town of Lannion, with the intent of providing a “zero-touch” network that automatically provisions services and auto repairs. In the United Kingdom, Vodafone UK has deployed a standalone 5G network at Coventry University aimed at VR training for healthcare professionals.
Other standalone networks are in the works – Nokia and A1 Telekom will deploy 5G SA in Serbia and Slovenia, while Ericsson and Vodafone Spain have partnered for standalone 5G support.
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