5G, the next-generation mobile network technology, is expected to roll out globally from 2020 and will deliver massive connectivity, ultra-low latency, gigabit speeds, and enable advanced applications such as smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, and autonomous vehicles.
Co-funded by Singtel and Ericsson with an initial investment of 2 million Singapore Dollars over the next three years, CoE aims to spearhead the development of Singapore’s 5G mobile network infrastructure to support future Smart Nation initiatives. It will also be open to Optus, and Singtel’s regional associates across Asia and Africa to encourage knowledge sharing within the Singtel Group.
An integral part of CoE’s strategic goal is also to help industries and enterprises understand the value of 5G in transforming their business and the importance of shaping their long-term planning. This first-of-its-kind collaboration in Singapore will feature four pillars: upskilling, demos, live field trials and collaborations with tertiary institutions.
Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, says: “This is a critical next step in our journey to 5G. We’re pleased to partner Ericsson to enhance our 5G core competencies and create a robust 5G ecosystem that will allow Singtel and our enterprise customers to benefit from the anticipated growth opportunities 5G will bring. We invite customers in various verticals, such as transportation, port operations and next-generation manufacturing, to start shaping their new digital business models with us.”
Activities will kick off in the later part of 2017, starting with Ericsson providing 5G expertise and conducting workshops, followed by field testing and hands-on experience to equip more than 100 Singtel engineers with critical competencies in designing and operating a 5G network.
5G demos will be set up in Singtel’s Comcentre headquarters to showcase future 5G application possibilities such as, immersive experience on Augmented Reality, enablement of haptic feedback in surgical operations, and remote medical education.
Starting next year, a mobile 5G test bed will be deployed to carry out live 5G field trials with key enterprise customers.
Singtel will also engage research and tertiary institutions on potential collaboration opportunities to test 5G radios and possible applications that can benefit from the high speeds and low latency provided by 5G.
Martin Wiktorin, President and Country Manager for Singapore, Brunei & Philippines, Ericsson, says: “The establishment of the 5G CoE is timely and goes hand in hand with the Government’s move to encourage industry trials in 5G. Together with Singtel, we plan to set up a 5G test bed in 2018 for trials with key enterprise customers, with the objective of enabling a strong foundation to help design Singapore’s 5G future.”
5G is seen as an important enabler for enterprises, having the potential to transform industries such as manufacturing, public safety, energy & utilities, transport, automotive and health care. It will also accelerate operational efficiencies to enable process transformation and new business models.
For example, port operators can use 5G to provide remote control of Autonomous Guided Vehicles within port operations and improve platooning reliability, which will help boost port operations efficiency. The use of sensors and technologies such as drones and augmented reality enabled by 5G can be used for predictive maintenance and enhance safety of port workers.
According to the Ericsson Report on 5G Business Potential released earlier this year, 5G industry digitalization will provide a number of opportunities and boost annual revenue of mobile operators by USD582 billion from the year 2026. 5G-enabled industries, such as energy/utilities and public transport will enable operators to increase revenues by 34 percent by 2026.
Singtel and Ericsson’s journey to 5G
Singtel and Ericsson are leading the way for 4G and 5G in the country. Singtel is the first operator in Southeast Asia to launch a tri-band LTE network in 2015. Singtel and Ericsson were the first to showcase 5G in South East Asia and demonstrated world’s first end-to-end low latency in 2016. Recently, Singtel and Ericsson jointly won the “Advancing the Road to 5G” accolade at the Global Telecoms Awards 2016 for Singtel’s nationwide IoT-ready 4G LTE network.
Earlier this year, high download speeds of up to 1 Gbps were achieved in Singapore in a live LTE network by deploying 256 QAM downlink, 4×4 MIMO and triple carrier aggregation techniques. Singtel’s 4G LTE network currently supports 500Mbps nationwide, supporting the latest Cat 11 and above handsets such as iPhone 8 and Samsung Note8.