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S'pore 'on track' to enable 3G underground

Upgrade of high-speed wireless Internet network in country's 2G-only underground subway routes on schedule, with works completed in areas with heaviest commuter traffic, says SingTel.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The upgrading of cellular networks for the country's underground subway is "on track" and will be completed by the end-July deadline set by the government, according to SingTel which is heading the effort.

The country is currently serviced by four MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) lines, namely the North-South, East-West, North-East and Circle lines. In an e-mail to ZDNet Asia, a SingTel spokesman explained that the two older lines--North-South and East-West--"were built years before 3G technology was introduced to Singapore" while the newer lines were built after the 3G network was implemented.

Last month, the country's regulator Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) reiterated the deadline of end-July for the country's three operators to finalize the installation of 3G network equipment for the underground train stations and tunnels.

The SingTel spokesman said: "So far, we have completed 3G network upgrades for the North-South and East-West lines in tunnels and underground stations with the heaviest commuter traffic. Upgrades on the remaining underground stations are on-track and expected to be completed by July 2011."

When contacted, StarHub and M1 also noted the three mobile operators are working to adhere to the July deadline. The StarHub spokesperson said over the phone that the mobile infrastructure in the North-South and East-West lines are shared between the three telcos.

SingTel told ZDNet Asia that engineers access the tunnels to perform the upgrading work only when trains are not in operation so as not to disrupt MRT services.

The three mobile operators did not provide details on the upgrade works implemented in the underground train routes.

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