SingTel – BT

SingTel to conduct 4G trials in S’pore, region

SINGAPORE Telecom and its partners will begin a trial in the first half of next year to test a 4G mobile technology that can wirelessly deliver broadband content to and from mobile devices much faster than what is commonly available now.

The telco said yesterday that it is testing a technology known as Long Term Evolution (LTE), which promises top speeds of up to 340Mbps – zippy enough to deliver high-definition TV content to mobile device users. SingTel’s trial will cover Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The telco will join hands with its Australian subsidiary Optus, as well as Indonesia’s Telkomsel and the Philippines’ Globe Telecom.

Six network vendors – Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks and ZTE – have also been invited to take part.

In a statement, SingTel said that the trial will help the parties involved ‘better understand LTE and determine the best approach and strategy for its adoption in their respective local markets’. It will also lay the groundwork to establish a ‘regionally compatible’ LTE network.

‘LTE will open doors to new and more powerful mobile solutions that will transform the way our customers across the region live, work and play,’ said Lim Chuan Poh, SingTel’s CEO International Group. There is no indication when SingTel might roll out commercial LTE services. ‘We will make a decision on the launch date after the trials,’ a SingTel spokesman told BT.

‘The time frame for the launch of commercial LTE services is dependent on the availability of spectrum slots and LTE mobile devices,’ he noted.

LTE has been coined a fourth-generation – or 4G – wireless technology and is expected to succeed the popular High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology.

Demand for mobile broadband services has soared in recent years, sparked by the proliferation of Internet-savvy smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone. This demand has fanned interest in upcoming mobile broadband technologies such as LTE.

According to market research firm IDC, there will be 43.6 million HSPA connections by year-end in the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan. Juniper Research said that the market for LTE services will exceed US$70 billion globally by 2014.

SingTel currently offers mobile broadband plans with download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, but said that its HSPA network is capable of supporting 21Mbps. StarHub and MobileOne both have plans with download speeds of up to 21Mbps.

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