SINGAPORE: StarHub on Monday (Aug 17) said it will be the first in Singapore to offer subscribers access to faster 5G speeds, under a six-month trial from Tuesday.
The announcement came as the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said it would support mobile network operators' plan to ride on existing 4G networks to deploy 5G non-standalone networks.
The 5G non-standalone networks will enable consumers to enjoy some 5G benefits, such as faster mobile speeds on 5G-enabled devices.
Upon IMDA’s approval, operators will be allowed to conduct market trials and offer some early commercial 5G services to consumers.
In June, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran said Singapore is on track to deploy two nationwide 5G standalone networks by 2025, after Singtel and a joint venture by StarHub and M1 were issued final awards to operate networks here.
READ: Singapore on track to roll out 5G by 2025; Singtel, StarHub-M1 joint venture issued final awards
5G standalone networks are completely independent of 4G networks. They can deliver a full suite of 5G capabilities including network slicing to support different use-case requirements, significant improvement in speeds, as well as ultra-reliable and low latency communications, said IMDA.
Meanwhile, non-standalone networks are built over existing 4G networks and is only limited to faster speeds.
IMDA said it would be work closely with mobile network operators to develop a regulatory framework that ensures a smooth transition from non-standalone networks to the standalone ones.
STARHUB FIRST IN SINGAPORE TO OFFER 5G SERVICES TO CUSTOMERS
Starting from Tuesday, StarHub said customers will be able to "automatically experience some early 5G benefits" using compatible mobile devices currently available in the market with its new Mobile+ or Biz+ plans.
The early access is free-of-charge for StarHub customers in the lead-up to the full commercial launch of 5G standalone services next year.
Currently, StarHub 5G signals cover up to 53 per cent of Singapore's populated areas. This will be expanded to 70 per cent coverage by September, including locations such as Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, the Central Business District, Jurong and Woodlands.
"Given the broad and infinite possibilities of 5G, we are eager for our customers to catch an early glimpse into the ultra-fast speed and ultra-low-latency upgrades that will empower hundreds of thousands of consumers, enterprises, government clients and Singapore," said StarHub chief of consumer business group Johan Buse.
StarHub's early 5G trial will run until Feb 16, 2021.