S'pore to play key role in developing 5G services

SINGAPORE - The next frontier of mobile services - 5th Generation (5G) services - could be a reality in five years, with Singapore being a key part of their development.

Such 5G services are said to be more than 10 times faster than 4G ones, and can be used in emergencies, such as rescuing victims of a nuclear explosion through the mobilisation of remotely controlled excavators.

The 5G communications take place without lag as a result of advances in data compression and antenna technologies, thus enabling rescue missions, where time is critical.

Today, 5G prototypes can deliver peak speeds of about 5Gbps in the labs, compared with 4G services which currently deliver speeds of up to 300Mbps in Singapore.

While trials in Singapore are expected to take place only in 2020 when 5G handsets are available, local telco Singtel is already shaping 5G technical standards, together with 23 other telcos.

Yesterday, the major players of the global telco scene - including South Korea's SK Telecom, Japan's NTT Docomo and Europe's Vodafone - and equipment-makers like Ericsson and Nokia, gathered in Singapore to define these technical standards.

The three-day meeting at Fairmont Singapore, hosted by Singtel, aims to finalise a White Paper detailing the many possible uses of 5G services, and standardise airwaves and speed requirements.

Standardisation ensures that 5G users from one part of the world can roam in another part of the world like they currently do with their 3G handsets.

The White Paper will be presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in March.

Mr Tay Soo Meng, Singtel's group chief technology officer, said these developments are timely in supporting Singapore's drive to become a smart nation, where sensors and surveillance cameras monitor everything from safety to air quality.

"This is because 5G has amazing high speeds and almost near-zero latency," he said, meaning that it has no time lags.


This article was first published on Jan 28, 2015.
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