Singapore's M1 to roll out nationwide LTE service

Local operator will be the first in the country to offer nationwide LTE network coverage when it launches on Sep. 15, including roaming services in Hong Kong.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

SINGAPORE--Local operator M1 today unveiled the country's first nationwide LTE service which will include roaming capability in Hong Kong.

Available from Sep. 15, the LTE network--commonly touted as 4G--operates on 1,800MHz and 2,600MHz frequency bands, typically offering speeds of between 6.9Mbps and 17.4Mbps.

While often marketed by telcos as "4G", LTE is developed by the 3G Partnership Project and not regarded by some in the industry to be a true 4G technology. LTE Advanced is touted by others as a more suited candidate for the 4G system.

M1 first launched its LTE services in Singapore's financial district area last year, targeting enterprise customers.

With today's announcement, it will be the first operator here to offer nationwide LTE coverage and will also make available several LTE-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets and modems during the Sep. 15 launch. These include Samsung's Galaxy Note LTE and S2 LTE, HTC One XL, Asus Transformer Pad TF300TL and Huawei E392.

The LTE service will be available to M1 customers under four new smartphone service plans at S$49.70, S$69.70, S$108.70, and S$208.70 per month, with data bundles of 2GB, 3GB, 5GB and 12GB, respectively.

The operator is marketing these as service plans "with 4G VAS" (value-added service). When asked what exactly the VAS would entail, an M1 spokesperson pointed to the faster network speeds and full nationwide coverage--the latter of which is not available via any other operator in Singapore, she said. 

Another three LTE mobile broadband service plans will also be available at S$24.84, S$36.84 and S$52.84 per month, with data bundles of 2GB, 5GB and 10GB, respectively.

For all plans, excess data will be charged at S$5.35 per 1GB block, capped at S$94.16 excluding monthly subscription.

LTE customers will also be able to sign up for roaming services in Hong Kong via M1's partner, SmarTone Telecommunications. The Singapore operator said more countries and operators will be added to its LTE roaming service in future.

Of the country's two other mobile operators, only SingTel also offers LTE services and at monthly service plans currently priced lower than M1's. According to SingTel's Web site, its LTE services are available at S$39.9, S$59.9, S$99.9 and S$205, at data bundles of 2GB, 3GB, 4GB and 12GB, respectively. 

SingTel's LTE coverage, however, is limited to the Central Business District and other high data usage areas across Singapore. The telco said full nationwide coverage is expected to be rolled out in early-2013. 

Third local operator, StarHub, has yet to launch commercial LTE services but previously said its network will go live by end-2012, covering business areas in the country.

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