HetNet trial at Jurong Lake District to begin in Q3, involves all three telcos and MyRepublic

SINGAPORE - A new network will go on trial in the second half of this year at Jurong Lake District to allow consumers to surf at high-speeds with no fears of disruptions.

All three telcos - Singtel, StarHub and M1 - and potential telco entrant MyRepublic will roll out new equipment in common areas such as lifts, the Jurong East MRT station and bus interchange and pedestrian walkways to enable the trial.

This network dubbed HetNet - short for heterogeneous network - theoretically enables users to hop across 3G, 4G or WiFi networks, regardless of who operates them, during disruptions or when surfing is slow on one network.

To start in the third quarter and end by year-end, the trial will evaluate the latest technology to ease network congestion. This is part of the Government's long-term goal to ensure that scarce wireless spectrum is maximised to meet rising mobile data demands.

"We want to see how we can be better prepared to have everyone connected everywhere all the time," said Mr Khoong Hock Yun, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) assistant chief executive officer.

For instance, users can look forward to the end of mobile surfing interuption when they use the lift or when they move from their homes to the nearby bus station.

But the trial will only be confined to roaming within telcos' own Wi-Fi and cellular networks, and not across different operators' cellular networks.

Inter-operator cellular roaming will not take place in the trial due to the absence of a "robust commercial framework" for pricing, which IDA is counting on the industry to sort out, said Mr Khoong.

The trial is also part of Singapore's push to become a smart nation. Phase one of the smart nation plan is already underway with a tender to operate the data centers that host critical government information awarded to Singtel. The data centre will be commissioned in July.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.