5G in Singapore: SingTel’s 5G Ambitions
Although 5G is still in its early stage, it isn’t anything esoteric, even if you may not consider yourself a digital-first company. With 5G set to become the impetus of forward-thinking organizations, Singapore is taking the lead with its deployment. The nation’s mobile network operators (MNOs) are currently racing in a bid to become one of the major networks to launch 5G capability across Singapore. The call for proposal comes in line with the nation’s vision of driving a Smart Nation with the 5G network rollout set to launch in 2020. Singtel, one of the four major telcos in Singapore, has a plan to come out on top by taking on a collaborative approach with other partners in complementary industries and opening up an innovation hub to test, visualize and drive innovation as the network launches.
Singtel is the largest player in the telco field with the greatest number of subscribers and offshore ownership. Singtel has a 100% stake in Australia’s Optus and ownership in Indonesia’s MNO, Telkomsel. Singtel services approximately 700 million customers in the entire APAC region through its international ownership structure. Given its substantial presence across some of the most promising digital nations in the world, it comes as no surprise that Singtel has launched the 5G Garage, their testbed to ideate the 5G ecosystem in Singapore.
The 5G Garage is a first of its kind collaboration with Singtel, Ericsson and Singapore Polytechnic. The hub isn’t simply about working with potential 5G technology clients who would benefit from the network. Rather, the 5G Garage will strive to produce a domain to grow the capabilities of 5G across the entirety of the island. In doing so, the hub isn’t limiting its testing to large tech customers but also SMEs and even students who want to be at the forefront of 5G’s transformative technology.
However, most of the effort being brought to fruition at the Garage is aimed at the enterprise market. Tay Yeow Lian, Singtel’s Managing Director of Network spoke at this year’s 5G Asia claiming how useful the hub would be. The island is home to the Singapore Grand Prix, a famed F1 race that laces across many of the country’s iconic landmarks. Guests of the race can enjoy the race from the comfort of their hotel rooms through an AR headset whilst race participants can get a better idea of performance on the track with the power of 5G architecture capabilities. Although the ecosystem is still in its infancy stages, the possibilities are endless. Other applications are being tested at the lab including 4K video drones, cloud gaming, AR/VR assistance and automated vehicles.
Through Singtel’s partnership with Ericsson and Singapore Polytechnic, the telco has the capacity to test out various tech applications on a 3.5GHz spectrum. The lab is currently free to use given that all data derived from the tests are aimed at understanding the demand for 5G in Singapore. Users who wish to take advantage of the free lab can also loan out facilities and devices courtesy of Singapore Polytechnic. The focus-industries at the 5G Garage will be transportation, logistics, healthcare and manufacturing.
The launch of 5G isn’t without network challenges. As the leader in 5G, VIAVI Lab to Field solution is the most comprehensive solution for NEMs and service providers to quickly perform a complete network verification in the lab for an expedited and smooth field deployment. 5G will soon become an enabler for new products and services to enter a plethora of industries that couldn’t before due to latency limitations. With the ability to test all key wireless, cellular, and IP technologies worldwide, VIAVI solutions ensure networks are robust enough to cope with the complexity and demands of devices and traffic at scale by validating the impact of real-life conditions across the entire network, testing subscribers’ quality of experience.