Singtel launches 5G trial services in Singapore, second telco after StarHub to do so

Singtel's 5G services are free for the first 20,000 customers with 5G-compatible smartphones. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Singtel launched 5G trial services in Singapore on Tuesday (Sept 1), the second telco after StarHub to allow consumers to surf on a faster mobile network.

Singtel's 5G services are free for the first 20,000 customers with 5G-compatible smartphones as part of a three-month trial, with its 5G signals covering certain areas in the central and southern parts of Singapore.

Coverage will be expanded to other areas during the trial period.

Network speeds range from 200Mbps to 1Gbps depending on the devices used, population density and other environmental factors, Singtel said.

In comparison, 4G download speeds on Singtel and StarHub average around 58Mbps, according to a report in June by mobile analytics company Opensignal.

With the increased speeds, a 3GB movie clip - which translates to about an hour's duration in high-definition format - will take around 40 seconds to download on average, 10 times faster than with 4G.

The trial services offer only partial benefits of 5G, as they ride on existing 4G technologies. Singapore's two full-fledged nationwide 5G networks will be ready only by 2025, and will be built by Singtel and, separately, a joint venture between StarHub and M1.

The full suite of 5G benefits includes much lower latency, the ability to connect many more devices, and a further boost to network speeds.

Singtel said its free trial is open to 10,000 existing customers who own 5G-enabled phones and the next 10,000 who buy a 5G-enabled phone. Customers beyond the first 20,000 who wish to try out Singtel's 5G services will have to pay $10 per month.

There are four 5G-enabled phone models currently: the Huawei P40 Pro 5G and P40 Pro+ 5G, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G and the Vivo X50 Pro 5G. The list will be expanded in the coming months.

"We are excited to introduce our customers to a high-quality 5G experience that will enrich their digital lifestyles," said Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, who heads Singtel's Singapore consumer business.

"With Covid-19 driving everyone online and dramatically increasing our reliance on digital services to work, learn and play, 5G is set to be a huge enabler in our lives in this new normal."

StarHub launched its 5G trial services last month.

StarHub's trial is running for six months, and is open to customers who have signed up for its three Mobile+ and Biz+ plans and own a 5G-enabled phone.

Meanwhile, M1 reiterated that its network is "launch-ready". It is working closely with the Infocomm Media Development Authority to roll out 5G trial services.

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