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Singapore telco StarHub joins 5G bandwagon trial

Supported by Nokia, Singapore’s second largest telecom provider StarHub has initiated its first 5G non-standalone (NSA) trial which will be conducted till February 2021.

Although StarHub will be the third operator in Singapore to begin 5G network trials, they are the first to roll out commercial 5G services in Singapore.  Consumers and enterprise clients can look forward to StarHub’s structured 5G services with 5G-enabled devices in the market.

Currently, the signal is live at 2100MHz on NSA architecture and covers 53% of Singapore, including its central business district and some residential areas. StarHub’s aim is to expand its 5G NSA network coverage to 70% by September this year.

Opting for the NSA route, StarHub will leverage its existing 4G infrastructure for the 5G trial while progressively reframing its LTE spectrum with Nokia’s core and radio solutions. This enables StarHub to provide higher data bandwidth to subscribers without major disruption and overhaul.

The 5G NSA mode allows dual connection for 4G and 5G radio waves. This allows devices to send and receive data using the two networks simultaneously to independent sites. The dual network also enables faster connectivity for end-users and resolves the hurdles of real-world deployment. 

Furthermore, StarHub aims to provide 3.5GHz (3500MHz) spectrum on standalone for future ICT projects – AR/VR entertainment and gaming; remote health treatment and diagnosis, and more – in Singapore by mid-2021. 

Chong Siew Loong, Chief Technology Officer of StarHub, said: “We are excited to be the first to offer customers in Singapore the 5G experience. To help us evolve quickly and easily towards 5G NSA, we chose Nokia’s Single RAN portfolio as it brings new capabilities, improved network efficiency and end-user experience.”

Singapore is on track to deploy two 5G networks by 2025, after Singtel and a joint venture by StarHub and M1 were issued 5G licences.

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