Singapore-based mobile operator StarHub, together with long-time partner Nokia, has begun the first live 5G non-standalone (NSA) network trial in the city, which will run until February 16 next year.
As such, Starhub has introduced the first 5G services across the city state to both consumers and corporate customers, with new mobile plans using compatible mobile devices currently available in the market.
StarHub 5G signals currently cover 53% of Singapore’s populated areas, including busy locations and major residential hubs, such as Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Central Business District, Clementi, Jurong, Orchard, Tampines, Woodlands and Yishun, among others
By leveraging existing 4G infrastructure, the trial 5G network will allow StarHub to provide higher data bandwidth and reliable connectivity to its subscribers without a major infrastructure overhaul. The network utilises Nokia’s end-to-end core and radio solutions, enabling the efficient use of spectrum to deliver 5G services.
Chong Siew Loong, chief technology officer of StarHub, said: “At StarHub, we are excited to be the first to offer customers in Singapore the 5G experience. We continue to develop and advance our Network towards SA 5G through close collaboration with our trusted partners. 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. We look forward to harness the full potential of 5G for Singapore.”
StarHub 5G is currently ‘live’ on 2100MHz spectrum on a non-standalone architecture, similar to other overseas 5G networks. By mid-2021 StarHub will operate 5G services on 3.5GHz spectrum on a standalone architecture to underpin next-generation ICT and digital innovation for Singapore, from secure private networking to advanced manufacturing, fully autonomous drones, robots and vehicles, pioneering remote health treatments, immersive AR/VR entertainment, cloud gaming, enhanced remote working capabilities and plug-and-play fixed wireless access.
The 5G NSA network will enable StarHub customers to enjoy early benefits of 5G, with enhanced coverage and performance to improve user experience at major residential and commercial hubs of Singapore. StarHub will progressively expand the 5G NSA network coverage and expects it to reach 70% by September 2020.
“This project marks the beginning of a new chapter in the long-established partnership between Nokia and StarHub. It will allow us to align with Singapore's Smart Nation vision to create a world-class 5G infrastructure. We are excited to continue supporting StarHub in its mission to make 5G services a reality and a success in Singapore,” said Ngiam Ming Kin, head of Singapore at Nokia.
As the mobile operator’s preferred 5G technology partner, Nokia has been recently tapped to deploy its mmWave solution and 5G Standalone (SA) Core network.
The 5G network project, which spans core and software, include:
- Spectrum re-farming was implemented in 900MHz and 2100MHz for LTE anchor layer and 5G operation, respectively.
- Nokia NetAct is a central network management system with a proven track record covering StarHub’s multiple networks and technologies, such as 3G, 4G/LTE and now 5G, to reduce manual processes and enhance network quality.
- Nokia AirScale baseband was modernized to evolve StarHub’s network, deliver high-quality connectivity and coverage.