StarHub, M1 sign MOU to share base stations, backhaul links to lower network cost

Singapore telcos StarHub and M1 are exploring ways to share more mobile infrastructure to reduce operational costs even as they expand their networks.
Singapore telcos StarHub and M1 are exploring ways to share more mobile infrastructure to reduce operational costs even as they expand their networks.PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - StarHub and M1 are exploring ways to share more mobile infrastructure to reduce operational costs even as they expand their networks, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on Thursday (Jan 12).

The MOU covers mobile equipment such as base stations for communicating with users' cellphones and backhaul fibre-optic cables that link the base stations to the Internet - a first among telcos in Singapore.

Both telcos have existing sharing arrangements but the sharing has so far been limited to antenna systems that convert electric power into radio waves, and fibre optic cables within buildings and road tunnels.

Both telcos said in a statement on Thursday that the pooling of network resources will allow them to roll out more cost effective next-generation networks to meet a growing demand for mobile data services.

StarHub chief executive officer Tan Tong Hai said: "We are cooperating to bring the Singapore infocomm industry to the next level, to compete not on pure infrastructure ownership, but at a higher level of customer service and innovative value creation."

M1 chief executive officer Karen Kooi said if the MOU becomes a reality, it could run its existing mobile services efficiently "and still be able to invest in future technologies to keep Singapore at the forefront of the infocomm industry".