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Singtel makes Massive MIMO move with Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE

Singaporean telco will use its new 2.5GHz spectrum to cater for big events.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

On August 9, Singaporean National Day, Singtel is hoping to show off its new Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) infrastructure, which the telco touts as being able to boost data speeds by up to 200 percent at special events.

Going with a trio of vendors -- Ericsson, Huawei, and ZTE -- Singtel said it will be using base stations with 64 antennas that are able to "channel" signals to the handset, rather than broadcasting to a large area.

"This multiplies the number of data paths from the cellular base stations, thus increasing network capacity and improving user experience," the company said in a statement.

The Singaporean incumbent expects over 150,000 people to be in Marina Bay next week for national celebrations, where it will deploy the base stations, and will be followed up by the upcoming Singaporean Formula 1 Grand Prix, and New Years Eve events.

Singtel said it would be using its new 2.5GHz band spectrum for the Massive MIMO deployment, which it picked up during Singapore's April spectrum auction.

For the cost of SG$563.7 million, Singtel picked up 4x 10MHz in the 700MHz band, 2x 10MHz in the 900MHz band, and 3x 5MHz in the 2.5GHz band.

Competitor StarHub picked up 3x 10MHz in the 700MHz band, 1x 10MHz in the 900MHz band, and 4x 5MHz in the 2.5GHz band during the auction.

StarHub said it would be boosting its network speeds by 30 percent around the National Day Parade thanks to its 2.5GHz spectrum.

"Our TDD-LTE deployment will enable us to improve the experience of everyone's 4G connection, and we are eager to bring the upgrade to more areas where it matters for our customers," said StarHub CTO Chong Siew Loong.

By the end of the year, StarHub said it would improve service in the CDB, Chinatown, Clarke Quay, and Orchard Road.

Last month, Singtel began its LTE-A rollout on Orchard Road, and said it would be extending the upgrades to Raffles Place and Clarke Quay before the end of August.

The telco said it was able to hit 800Mbps through the use of triple aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation on Ericsson kit.

Singtel said users of the Sony XZ Premium would enjoy the new speeds straight away, with more Cat 16 smartphones to come throughout the year.

Last week, Ericsson announced Singtel was using its small cells to boost mobile signals across 100 locations such as shopping centres, MRT stations, and buildings.

The Swedish networking company said deploying its cells would see throughput increase by 50 percent in those locations.

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