StarHub – BT

StarHub plans major infrastructure upgrade

FOLLOWING hot on the heels of arch-rival SingTel, StarHub plans to boost the speed of its mobile broadband services through a major infrastructure upgrade.

The operator’s existing 3.5G or HSPA (high speed packet access) network will get a facelift over the next 12 months to deliver better coverage island-wide and handle larger volumes of mobile data.

SingTel and M1 have introduced HSPA networks to power their mobile broadband offerings, but StarHub is claiming a speed victory over its competitors through this upgrade.

When its move to HSPA+ is completed in the second quarter of 2009, its download speeds will increase to 21Mbps (megabits per second) – a 1.5 times improvement from the current limit of 14.4 Mbps.

This means customers will be able to surf the Internet and download e-mail attachments on the move at speeds that are superior to most fixed-line broadband packages available today.

Uplink speeds will also be improved, from 1.9 Mbps currently to 11Mbps, slashing the time needed to add large files to Web pages or email documents.

The upgrade will increase the number of StarHub mobile base stations to at least 3,500. This is because operators need to add more such equipment to accelerate data transmission over the cellular airwaves.

‘Since our 3.5G launch in 2007 we have seen a dramatic 23-fold increase to our mobile data traffic as more and more mobile customers surf the Internet wirelessly, and access our mobile TV content,’ said David Stone, StarHub’s integrated network engineering head, said in a statement yesterday.

StarHub’s transition to HSPA+ will be funded from a $200 million war chest it previously set aside for the rollout and enhancement of its third-generation mobile network.

Like its previous upgrade, the contract for the new project has again been awarded to Chinese network equipment giant Huawei Technologies.

Last week, SingTel said it will invest $220 million in an island-wide network upgrade to set the stage for higher-speed mobile broadband services.

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