M1 rolls out nationwide next-gen 4G network

M1 rolls out nationwide next-gen 4G network

The country's first nationwide next-generation 4G network was launched yesterday in an announcement by telco M1.

More than 95 per cent of outdoor areas and most indoor areas will be covered by the upgrade to 4G+ or LTE-A as the network is also called, according to a press statement.

The telco's claim will also mean that Singapore is one of the first few nations in the world to have such extensive 4G+ coverage that can - at its fastest - allow users to halve the time it used to take to, say, stream movies.

Mr Patrick Scodeller, M1's chief operating officer, said: "We continually invest in our networks to ensure our customers consistently enjoy a better experience with us."

No additional fees will be charged for the telco's customers for the faster download speeds.

According to M1, the typical download speeds on 4G+ are between 43 and 115 megabits per second (Mbps) as of this month. The maximum download speed on the new network is 300Mbps.

Currently, only a handful of devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy Note 4, can handle the super-fast speeds.

Devices that are not equipped with LTE-A capability will not be affected.

Other telco companies are also stepping up their game to provide faster network coverage for their customers.

For instance, StarHub will be upgrading its 4G network to LTE-A in popular retail areas such as Bedok, Orchard, Tampines and Jurong East by the end of this month.

A spokesman said: "The speed boost to 300Mbps is expected to be available nationwide next year, when 4G LTE-A phone models become mainstream here."

Companies define nationwide coverage differently, said a SingTel spokesman, who noted, somewhat tongue in cheek, that it is on track to achieve its own "internal definition" of what constitutes nationwide coverage by March next year.

SingTel said it was focusing on improving indoor coverage in its 4G+ roll-out for now.

Consumers should be mindful that higher speeds could lead to an increase in data usage, which would mean higher bills, said senior analyst Clement Teo of technology and market research company Forrester.

He added: "The more bandwidth you provide, the more people will consume."

Still, M1's move provides more options for its customers. Cost-conscious users can set data usage limits on their phones, but for heavy users, they can go ahead and "consume away", said Mr Teo.

awcw@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 3, 2014.
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