'

Singtel, Ericsson prep Singapore 5G launch for drone trials

Scheduled to go live by fourth-quarter 2018, the pilot 5G network will facilitate drone and autonomous vehicle trials at the country's designated science and IT hub, One-North.

Singtel and Ericsson are readying the launch of the Singapore telco's pilot 5G network later this year, when it will facilitate drone and autonomous vehicle trials in the city-state.

Slated to go live by the fourth quarter, the pilot network will be deployed at the One-North district in Buona Vista, which is designated as Singapore's science, business, and IT hub.

The launch also is the result of a facility jointly set up by Singtel and Ericsson to drive the development of 5G in the country.

The next-generation mobile network has been touted to deliver speeds that are 10 times faster than average 4G rates as well as enable 4K video downloads "in seconds".

Singtel's Singtel CTO Mark Chong said in a statement Monday: "5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries, as well as empower consumers with innovative applications."

The Singapore telco and Ericsson said trials involving drones and autonomous vehicles would be conducted on the pilot 5G network later this year at One-North and other areas designated for such tests.

At the launch event Monday, both vendors featured demos that streamed 3D augmented reality content over the network, operating in the 28GHz millimetre wave spectrum. Participants were able to view virtual objects such as human anatomy and 360-degree images, which then was streamed remotely over the 5G network, in real-time, to an external audience.

Singapore's other telcos also have begun conducting their own 5G network trials. M1 in June said it had partnered Huawei to run tests in the 28GHz millimetre wave spectrum, while StarHub last year said it also was working with Huawei on its 5G network trials.

Industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in May 2017 announced plans to let Singapore telcos test 5G services for free over two years, as part of efforts to fuel local developments. Frequency fees for 5G trials were waived until December 2019, allowing telcos to save S$11,200 a year, according to IMDA.