Singaporean operator Singtel, working in partnership with Sweden’s Ericsson, says it hopes to offer its customers a 1Gbps mobile service later this year, following the completion of successful trials in its network. The carrier says that when it is ready to offer the service – which utilises newly-acquired spectrum in the 2500MHz band to deliver quad-band carrier aggregation (CA) to increase bandwidth – it will initially focus on deploying it in ‘key high-traffic locations’ such as Orchard Road, Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar and Clarke Quay, but notes that the 1Gbps speed will be available only on certain handsets. Mark Chong, the group’s CTO, is quoted as saying: ‘As the world prepares for the 5G era, Singtel is leveraging its spectrum assets and the latest advancements in mobile technology to optimise our network usage.’ Handsets supporting the 1Gbps speeds offered by quad-band FDD/TDD CA are expected to be available from the second half of 2018, it added.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in December 2017 Singtel and Ericsson achieved a peak speed of 1.1Gbps in a joint trial of a new configuration of Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology. The laboratory tests broke the 1Gbps barrier by successfully combining several key LTE technologies including 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and aggregating two licensed and three unlicensed spectrum bands on a TM500 Test System device. In a press release at the time, Ericsson said that the unique twelve-layered LAA configuration used in the trial will provide two to three times faster than prevailing peak LTE speeds, resulting in enhanced user experience, especially in high traffic indoor environments such as shopping malls. Following this successful trial, Singtel began exploring the feasibility of deploying the technology on Singtel’s network, which already claims to be able to deliver peak LTE-A data speeds of 500Mbps.