StarHub joins LTE bandwagon

The Singapore telco is the latest of the three local operators to offer LTE services, but coverage will be limited initially to the business district, airport and Singapore Expo when it launches on Sep. 19.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--StarHub will be launching its LTE service in Sep. 19 this year, with initial coverage spanning the country's business district, airport and Singapore Expo. Access to the wireless technology will be expanded gradually over the rest of the year before nationwide coverage is completed in 2013.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the telco said it will be enhancing its mobile broadband network with both its LTE network as well as DC-HSPA+ (Dual-Cell High-Speed Packet Access Plus), which will enhance its current 3G network. Customers can expect improved peak downlink speeds of up to 75Mbps and 42Mbps, respectively, it added.

"Mobile data usage has more than doubled between 2009 and 2011, and we are seeing a fast-growing demand for mobile data applications and services. We expect this growth trend to continue, and we have been devoting our resources and efforts to drive service improvements in our mobile network," said Chan Kin Hung, head of marketing & products at StarHub.

While the operator work toward completing its LTE deployment, the DC-HSPA+ network will double the current 3G downlink and promises to offer subscribers "fast, consistent data connectivity" in indoor areas and most of Singapore's underground network of MRT stations and tunnels. Users of the new iPad from Apple will be one of the first in the nation to benefit from this rollout, the company stated.

To support this, StarHub will be offering four new SmartSurf smartphone price plans from Sep. 19. The monthly subscription for the entry-level package, SmartSurf Lite will be set at S$38 which comes with a 2GB data bundle, while the top-tier package, SmartSurf Elite costs S$205 per month with a 12GB data cap.

Customers are able to "upsize" their data package at S$2.14 per 1GB per month, and the maximum local data usage charge will be capped at S$64.20 per month, it added.


By comparison, M1 announced last Thursday it would be offering its four LTE packages 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. It touts nationwide coverage once the service goes live on Sep. 15 though.

SingTel also offers LTE services and at monthly service plans currently priced lower than M1's. According to its Web site, LTE services are available at S$39.90, S$59.90, S$99.90 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.

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