M1 to tap Nokia in 5G standalone network deployment

Singapore telco has inked a deal to deploy Nokia's "cloud-native" Core platform, as it prepares to launch its 5G standalone network later this year.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

M1 will roll Nokia's Core platform as it prepares to launch its 5G standalone network later this year. The move is touted to provide machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that will enable the Singapore telco to tailor its 5G services for industrial use cases. 

This could include applications such as unmanned aerial or road vehicles, wireless e-health, digital banking, and smart manufacturing, said Nokia in a statement Wednesday. The Finnish network equipment vendor added that its "cloud-native" Core software would deliver the scalability and flexibility M1 needed to deliver 5G network services, such as online games and immersive experience applications. 

Third-party application developers also would be able to connect to M1's 5G standalone network to improve 5G roaming services.

Powered by Nokia's Airframe servers and spine leaf switches, the Core platform would be hosted on Keppel's data centre and secured with Nokia's NetGuard software suite that included firewall and certification management. 

M1 CEO Manjot Singh Mann said: "5G standalone is going to be the real game-changer for 5G... We are excited to leverage 5G standalone's low-latency as well as its responsive, secured, and high-throughput mobile connectivity to deliver high performance and reliable 5G services for our consumers and enterprises."

The Singapore telco in June partnered with Airbus to pilot the use of 5G to operate unmanned aerial vehicles in real-world environments. The trials would assess whether these vehicles could run safely and efficiently throughout the duration of their flights and the performance and coverage of mobile network in the operating areas.

M1 also teamed up with IBM and Samsung Electronics to develop and test applications for the manufacturing sector that tapped 5G and other technologies such as AI and Internet of Things. 

The Singapore government in 2019 announced various initiatives aimed at driving innovation and adoption of 5G technology in Singapore, which included a SG$40 million ($29.53 million) pot to build up the supporting ecosystem such as 5G technology trials and R&D efforts. These initiatives encompass focused efforts on six key verticals such as smart estates, urban mobility, and maritime, which had been earmarked for their potential to showcase 5G use cases that could be championed globally. 

M1 last April secured licences to deploy nationwide 5G networks in Singapore, alongside co-bidder StarHub, which also had opted to roll out its 5G core network with Nokia. Fellow licensee Singtel is working with Ericsson to deploy its core standalone 5G and mmWave networks. 


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