SingTel – BT

SingTel plans $220m network upgrade

Existing HSPA infrastructure will be upgraded to deliver download speeds of 14.4 Mbps

SINGAPORE Telecommunications (SingTel) is investing $220 million in an islandwide cellular network upgrade to set the stage for delivering higher-speed mobile broadband services.

According to a company statement yesterday, the facelift – which is due for completion in March 2009 – will provide the company with a ‘future-proof’ network capable of handling more bandwidth over-the-air at much higher speeds.

‘More and more customers are accessing data and the Internet on the move and they need higher data speeds,’ said Mark Chong, SingTel’s executive vice-president of networks.

To seize on this trend, the company had already launched a 3.5G or HSPA (high speed downlink packet access) network in May 2007 to allow customers to surf the Net on their phones or laptops at broadband speeds of 3.6 megabits per second (Mbps). StarHub and M1 have also introduced similar networks. With the new project, which has been awarded to Swedish network equipment giant Ericsson, SingTel’s existing HSPA infrastructure will be upgraded to deliver download speeds of 14.4 Mbps. This will result in faster loading times for Web pages and could also pave the way for SingTel to deliver its upcoming mobile TV service.

In addition, upload speeds will also be bumped up from 384 kilobits per second (Kbps) to 5.76 Mbps, making easier for users to add large files to their blogs or their e-mail attachments through their mobile connections.

To deliver the speed boost, SingTel will be adding more base stations across the island. Once completed, the company’s network coverage will be powered by over 2,800 base stations.

This network overhaul will also help prepare SingTel for the deployment of future upgrades to HSPA technology, the group added.

‘The network enhancement programme will elevate our mobile service and coverage to an even higher level,’ said Quek Peck Leng, SingTel’s executive vice-president of its consumer division.

SingTel currently has the lion’s share of the local mobile market with a customer base of 2.5 million, followed by StarHub and M1.

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