M1 launches Singapore's first commercial disruption-free high-speed Internet network

M1 has announced Singapore's first commercial heterogeneous network rollout on Friday (Aug 19), following trials over the past year.
M1 has announced Singapore's first commercial heterogeneous network rollout on Friday (Aug 19), following trials over the past year. PHOTO: M1

SINGAPORE - A network which allows consumers to surf at high speeds without disruption is now available for M1 customers.

The telco announced Singapore's first commercial heterogeneous network rollout on Friday (Aug 19), following trials over the past year.

This heterogeneous network, or HetNet for short, lets users jump across 4G or Wi-Fi networks to minimise surfing slowdowns or disruptions. In effect, users will have higher download speeds and fewer network disconnections, even when indoors or underground.

M1 claims the network will be able to deliver peak theoretical download speeds of more than 1Gbps by 2017 - more than double the current peak speed of 450Mbps.

The telco is working with communications company Nokia to deploy small cells, which are smaller and more convenient than traditional base stations to install, and Wi-Fi equipment across the island to achieve this.

M1 will progressively roll out the hardware across hundreds of high-traffic hotspots island-wide, which includes places like MRT and LRT stations, Orchard Road, Clarke Quay and the Marina Bay area.

"From the customer's point of view, it's completely seamless, to give them the best possible service, be it via Wi-Fi or cellular at the time where they specifically are," said M1's chief operating officer Patrick Scodeller.

M1 users can already access this HetNet in areas where M1 previously ran trials - at Paragon in Orchard Road, Orchard Road and Raffles Place MRT and Jem mall at Jurong East.

The telco is putting $50 million into the initial stages of setting up the network, which covers the cost of equipment, installation and upkeep of the small cell stations.

Part of the amount also goes into the rollout of a nationwide commercial narrowband Internet of Things network, which will be ready in the first half of 2017.

This will be a dedicated network specially for machines to share data with other machines, such as sensors that communicate with a central server.

For example, transport firms may install sensors on their vehicles to keep track of their movement. M1's network gives them their own 4G channel to send data back, thus enabling them to consume less power than if they were to compete for network space along with mobile users.

It also frees up data use for users while in congested areas, so that consumers continue to have faster surfing speeds.