Singtel and Ericsson roll out Singapore's first commercial NB-IoT network

Singtel's narrowband Internet of Things network, announced last August, has been deployed across the city state.
Written by Jonathan Chadwick, Contributor

Singtel has become the first operator in Singapore to deploy a commercially available narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network.

Rolled out in partnership with Ericsson, Singtel's IoT network supports CAT-M1 and NB-IoT devices and is touted by the companies as benefiting businesses by providing deeper wireless coverage and multiple connections.

"IoT will play a key role in realising Singapore's smart nation vision and we are committed to working with our partners to address the growing demand for IoT services both in the enterprise and consumer space," said Diomedes Kastanis, head of IoT at Singtel.

Singtel said the network offers a "universal connected life" open connectivity platform that enables any devices or service to interact with one another regardless of service provider or technology. The company will also look to accelerate the proliferation of IoT devices through power efficient and cost-effective solutions to enterprises.

Singtel added that it has been exploring IoT usage across asset tracking, environmental sensing, and waste management, and has been working with companies such as Mobike, EDMI Limited, and SIMCom on IoT usage.

Singtel and Ericsson also recently signed an agreement to establish the Singtel IoT Innovation Lab, which will be utilised by business and technology partners to develop and trial IoT solutions and reduce time to market for new services.

Singtel also said it will "harness its cybersecurity expertise" in helping enterprises implement IoT solutions.

Singtel announced back in August that it would be rolling out its Cat-M1 and NB-IoT across Singapore, with the former going live the following month. Cat-M1 allows for a broader range of coverage than traditional mobile broadband and letting businesses to make VoLTE calls across the network using smaller devices, the telco said at the time.

Ericsson and Singtel last month partnered on attaining the world's first peak 1Gbps mobile speed using quad-band frequency-division duplex/time-division duplex carrier aggregation solutions.

Singtel said last month that it would be rolling out the technology progressively in Singapore, beginning with Orchard Road, Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar, and Clarke Quay.

According to the companies, the technology will utilise Singtel's new 2.5GHz spectrum. Singtel had paid SG$563.7 million for 3x 5MHz in the 2.5GHz band, along with 4x 10MHz in the 700MHz band and 2x 10MHz in the 900MHz band, during the general spectrum auction last year.

Singtel and Ericsson also became the first to attain 1.1Gbps across LTE during a trial of licensed-assisted access (LAA) technology in December.

The LAA test, which took place in Singtel's lab, utilised 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO) and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Moderation (256 QAM) technology, and Ericsson's Radio 2203 and Radio 2205 devices.

Four layers with 4x4 MIMO on licensed spectrum were used in combination with two layers on a second licensed band, and 2x three layers of LAA with unlicensed spectrum, with Ericsson using a Cobham TM500 test device for the lab trials.

At the time, Chong said the telco would deploy LAA technology to boost capacity and speeds for indoor mobile traffic, such as in shopping malls.

Singtel has revealed that its digital business segment has again more than doubled its operating revenues, bringing in SG$325 million for the quarter to December.

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