M1 – BT

M1 draws first blood in next-gen battle with roll-out of LTE service

SINGAPORE’S smallest operator M1 has pipped its two larger rivals in the race to secure higher mobile surfing speeds by being the first to introduce fourth- generation cellular services in Singapore.

The firm yesterday launched an ultra high- speed mobile broadband service over its newly minted LTE (long-term evolution) network in selected parts of Singapore.

For a start, M1’s LTE infrastructure covers major areas in and around Singapore’s financial district.

These include Tanjong Pagar, Shenton Way, Chinatown, Beach Road, Suntec City, and the Padang.

In addition, the network is also available in the Marina Bay area as well as Tanjong Rhu, according to an M1 statement.

‘Coverage is being progressively expanded and is scheduled to be nationwide by the first quarter of 2012,’ it added.

LTE is widely seen as the successor to the third- generation (3G) mobile networks that are in use today.

Its implementation would allow operators to offer blazing cellular data speeds that are more than a hundred times faster than existing 3G technologies.

M1’s new LTE network will initially boast download speeds of 75 Mbps (megabits per second), a four-fold improvement over the fastest mobile broadband plan being offered today.

By the end of next year, LTE download speeds will be doubled to 150 Mbps.

The network’s upload speeds will correspondingly be boosted from 37.5 Mbps currently to 75 Mbps, M1 said.

The company will initially offer its new LTE service to enterprise customers who are already on its mobile broadband plans.

For a monthly fee of $59.40, these subscribers will get a token-like USB modem to enjoy speedier surfing on their laptops within the areas of coverage.

More LTE-compliant devices such as tablets and smart phones are expected to be available later this year.

Singapore Telecommunications and StarHub will both roll out their LTE networks later this year.

To accommodate the upgrade, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore has already set aside two mobile frequency spectrums – the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz (gigahertz) band and the 900 and 1800 MHz (megahertz) band – for operators to boost their cellular bandwidth.

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