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M1 invests $69M in mobile network refresh

Singapore telco contracts Nokia Siemens Networks to upgrade its core infrastructure to an all-IP network and deploy a nationwide 3G radio network on the 900MHz band.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--M1 is partnering Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to modernize its mobile networks, as well as deploy a 3G radio network on the 900 megahertz (MHz) band, for S$85 million (US$68.71 million).

In a statement Monday, the local telco said the network modernization program would see its core infrastructure upgraded to an all-Internet Protocol (IP) network and pooling of mobile switching centers and customer databases to enable dynamic allocation of resources.

This will improve network performance and efficiency and enhance resiliency, it added.

M1 also plans to deploy a 3G radio network on the 900MHz band, and this means introducing new radio modules in existing base stations across the island. This will complement the existing 3G network on the 2100MHz bandwidth to enhance both indoor and outdoor coverage, it said.

Local regulator Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) had in January 2008 allowed local telcos to make use of the 900MHz band, which was previously used to offer 2G services, to provide 3G services as part of its spectrum reallocation framework.

"Customer experience has always been the key focus for M1. With this latest investment, our customers can look forward to a better mobile experience and coverage," said Patrick Scodeller, Chief Operating Officer at M1, in the statement.

Both the network modernization and deployment of 3G radio network are scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2013, M1 stated.

The network refresh would likely go some way in helping the telco in preventing another 3G service disruption and the ensuing customer backlash it suffered. The latest 3G disruption occurred in January this year, and it was caused by an error from one of its vendors which was upgrading transmission equipment. IDA has yet to penalize the operator for the disruption.

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