Singtel, Ericsson to roll out 5G pilot network trials for drones, self-driving cars at one-north

(From left) Consumer Singapore CEO for Singtel Yuen Kuan Moon, Ericsson Head for Network Solutions, Southeast Asia, Oceania & India, Nitin Bansal, Singtel GCTO Mark Chong, Singtel GCEO Chua Sock Koong, IMDA CE Tan Kiat How, Group Enterprise CEO for Singtel Bill Chang, IMDA Deputy CE Aileen Chia and Singtel Managing Director of Networks Tay Yeow Lian, on July 23, 2018. PHOTO: SINGTEL
A live demonstration of a 3D AR Collaboration over a 5G network. PHOTO: SINGTEL
The 5G network by Ericsson and Singtel is expected to be launched by Q4 2018. PHOTOS: REUTERS, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singtel and Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson have announced plans for a 5G pilot network in Singapore's science district of one-north, to test drone and autonomous vehicle services.

The network will be launched by Q4 2018, Singtel group chief technology officer Mark Chong said at a technology demonstration for industry and media on Monday (July 23).

Referring to the one-north trials, he said: "The location is in line with the government's initiative to designate one-north as a test bed for autonomous vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems. For a start, we plan to conduct a drone trial on the pilot network to showcase network slicing capability."

5G refers to the next generation of mobile technology, which promises significantly faster wireless speeds. The pilot network follows the establishment of Singtel and Ericsson's joint Centre of Excellence, which was set up in late 2017 with an initial investment of S$2 million over three years.

Funding for the pilot network will come out of that kitty, Mr Chong told The Business Times on the sidelines of the launch event. Further details on the testing timetable will be given at a later date.

Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) deputy chief executive Aileen Chia said in a media statement that the pilot "is an encouraging step towards commercialisation with live 5G trial networks made possible with the regulatory sandbox IMDA has in place".

Since 2017, the IMDA has been waiving frequency fees in selected frequency spectrum bands for 5G trials, to lower regulatory barriers and encourage industry testing of real-world technology applications.

Ms Chia, who is also director-general for telecoms and post, added: "IMDA will continue to work closely with mobile service providers such as Singtel in their journey to build communication capabilities of the future and complement Singapore's efforts towards a vibrant digital economy."

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