Next-generation 5G mobile developments being shaped in Singapore

Such next-generation 5G services are said to be more than 10 times faster than 4G ones, which currently deliver speeds of up to 300Mbps in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Such next-generation 5G services are said to be more than 10 times faster than 4G ones, which currently deliver speeds of up to 300Mbps in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Next-generation mobile services that enable, say, real-time mobilisation of autonomous excavators for rescue of nuclear explosion victims could be five years away from reality, with Singapore being a key part of their development.

Such next-generation 5G services are said to be more than 10 times faster than 4G ones, which currently deliver speeds of up to 300Mbps in Singapore.

More importantly, 5G communications happen in real-time due to advances in data compression and antenna technologies, thus enabling mission-critical applications like rescue works.

While trials in Singapore are expected to take place only in 2020 when 5G handsets are available, Singtel is already shaping 5G technical standards, together with 23 other global telcos.

For the first time on Tuesday, the who's who in the global telco scene - including South Korea's SK Telecom, Japan's NTT Docomo and Europe's Vodafone - and equipment makers like Ericsson and Nokia, gathered in Singapore to define these technical standards.

The three-day meeting at Fairmont Singapore, hosted by Singtel, aims to finalise a white paper detailing the many possible uses, and standardise airwaves and speed requirements.

Standardisation ensures that 5G users from one part of the world can roam in another part of the world like they currently do with their 3G handsets.

The white paper will be presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in March.

Mr Tay Soo Meng, Singtel group chief technology officer, said that these developments are timely for supporting Singapore's drive to become a smart nation, where sensors and surveillance cameras monitor everything from public safety to air quality.

"This is because 5G has amazing high speeds and almost near-zero latency," he added.

itham@sph.com.sg