Singtel and Ericsson will launch what is touted as Singapore’s first 5G pilot network later this year to support trials of drones and autonomous vehicles.
The 5G pilot network, scheduled to go live by the fourth quarter this year, will be deployed at one-north in Buona Vista, the city-state’s science, business and IT hub.Singtel and Ericsson said they will conduct trials of drones and autonomous vehicles on the pilot network later this year. The duo will also work with enterprises at one-north to develop new 5G use cases and tap into the business potential of 5G.
“5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries, as well as empower consumers with innovative applications,” Singtel CTO Mark Chong said in a statement. “We are pleased to take another bold step in our journey to 5G with our 5G pilot network at one-north and invite enterprises to start shaping their digital future with us.”
Aileen Chia, deputy chief executive and director-general (Telecoms & Post) at Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), described the move as “an encouraging step towards commercialization, with live 5G trial networks made possible with the regulatory sandbox IMDA has in place.”
Last year, IMDA announced plans to let Singapore telcos test 5G services for free over two years and waived frequency fees for 5G trials until December 2019, as part of efforts to fuel 5G development in Singapore.
At the launch event on Monday, Singtel and Ericsson demonstrated a range of potential 5G use cases, including cutting-edge 3D augmented reality (AR) streaming over a 5G network operating in the 28-GHz millimeter wave spectrum.
Participants are able to view and interact with lifelike virtual objects such as a photorealistic human anatomy and a 360-degree image of the world. The immersive experience was then streamed in real-time to a remote audience via 5G.
The 5G pilot network is the result of a joint 5G initiative Singtel and Ericsson formed last year. In October 2017, the two companies set up a joint CoE to develop 5G technology, with an initial investment of $2 million to be deployed over three years.
Apart from Singtel, Singapore’s other mobile carriers have also begun conducting their own 5G trials. M1 said last month it has partner with Huawei to run tests in the 28-GHz mmWave spectrum, with plans to conduct the first 3.5-GHz non-standalone standards compliant field trial in Southeast Asia by the end of the year, and a 28-GHz and 3.5-GHz standalone field trial by mid-2019.
StarHub meanwhile is also working with Huawei on its 5G network trials.