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M1 offers 10Gbps fibre broadband in Singapore

M1 has joined Singtel in offering a 10Gbps fibre broadband service to residential customers in Singapore.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Singapore's third-largest telecommunications carrier, M1, launched its Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) commercial fibre broadband service over the weekend, offering customers speeds of up to 10Gbps.

The broadband offering will set customers back SG$189 per month over a 24-month contract.

M1 had launched its 10Gbps XGPON corporate fibre broadband network last August.

"The [corporate] service has been well received, and since then, we have been conducting network and equipment testing to ensure our service is ready for our residential customers," said M1 chief marketing officer P Subramaniam.

"We are pleased to extend our XGPON service's benefits to our residential consumers."

The service requires M1 to install an optical network terminal (ONT) and a Cat 6/6a/7 LAN cable.

Customers are able to sign up to the service in M1 stores in West Mall, Change Alley, NEX, Bugis, Paragon, and Tampines.

M1's 10Gbps offering follows rival telecommunications provider Singtel by almost a month, with the incumbent's own 10Gbps GPON service being available to residential customers since the beginning of February, also for SG$189 a month.

"We recognise that residential customers are using greater bandwidth and requiring faster speeds for their online activities," said Singtel's Singapore managing director of home consumer, Goh Seow Eng.

Remaining major Singaporean telco StarHub responded to the news by saying it is instead focusing on "meeting customers' real needs".

Last month, M1 also announced that it had attained 1Gbps download/130Mbps upload speeds on its 4G mobile network in partnership with Chinese technology giant Huawei.

The trial was conducted inside of M1's LTE Advanced test lab, and attained through the combination of four network technologies: 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO); two-component carrier (2CC) uplink carrier aggregation; 3CC tri-band downlink carrier aggregation; and Higher Order Modulation 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM).

The two companies used commercially available hardware as well as a prototype CAT14 Huawei device for the trial.

"Through technology innovation, we can further stretch the capability of current 4G technology, prior to the advent of 5G technology, to achieve an incredible peak download speed of more than 1Gbps," said M1 CTO Denis Seek.

"With more customers uploading and sharing content on social media and other channels, it is equally important to ensure we can deliver higher upload speeds. For this reason, we are also testing technology to deliver increased mobile upload speeds, to ensure we can meet their expectations."

Wang Jun, president of LTE Networks at Huawei, added that mobile networks are moving from 4G towards "4.5G" before the arrival of 5G in 2020.

"The successful trial marks the beginning of 4.5G era in Singapore, demonstrating Huawei and M1's continual innovation in delivering the benefits of the latest mobile technology advances to Singapore consumers, for instance, in enabling machine-to-machine connections and improving HD video experience," Wang Jun said.

For the full calendar year for 2015, M1 announced a net profit of SG$178.5 million on operating revenue of SG$1.16 billion.

Revenue from fixed services grew by 21.7 percent, from the SG$70.6 million reported in 2014 to SG$85.9 million for 2015, while revenue from handset sales reached SG$334.9 million in 2015, a 36.6 percent jump from the SG$245.3 million in 2014.

The telco's fibre customer base rose by 25,000 customers, from 103,000 up to 128,000, while average revenue per user (ARPU) for its fibre broadband services rose by 6.4 percent year on year, from SG$43.90 up to SG$46.70.

The growth in fixed services was attributed to a larger residential customer base, as well as new corporate contracts secured during the year.

According to M1 CEO Karen Kooi, the burgeoning interest in video-streaming services will continue fixed services revenue growth in 2016.

"The entry of OTT content providers such as Netflix and Viu, offering a large library of on-demand content at low monthly subscription, will effectively unbundle content from access. This will further level the playing field," Kooi said.

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