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Singapore's first 5G pilot network to launch by Q4

It will be run by local carrier Singtel, who will be tapping on Ericsson's tech for the trial.


5G networks will let users collaborate in AR in real time thanks to its low latency.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Singapore's on its way to super-fast 5G networks.

The island state's biggest carrier, Singtel (who also owns Optus in Australia) today announced plans for a 5G pilot at Singapore's tech hub of One-North by the fourth quarter of the year. The pilot will see Singtel partnering with Ericsson to launch a 5G network using 700MHz and 28GHz frequencies.

While the 700MHz frequency is currently used for local analog TV broadcasting, SingTel plans to use network slicing to tap on the frequency while it's still in use. The 700MHz band in Singapore will be reclaimed at the end of the year once analog TV switches over to digital.

Those hoping to experience super-fast and low-latency 5G speeds though, will have to wait, as the carrier did not have any plans to make 5G available to consumers just yet. Instead, Singtel plans to test drone delivery trials, as well as autonomous vehicle driving over 5G, said a spokesperson.

Even as 4G networks become commonplace, next generation 5G networks are already starting to take shape -- just recently, AT&T announced three new cities for its 5G rollout. Many countries around the world, such as the UK and South Korea are planning network trials this year. While there are no phones supporting the tech just yet, 2019 could see a rollout of 5G capable devices.

Apart from consumer use, 5G's low latency is a key feature that has the telecom industry all excited. 5G can be used in factories for robotics, while high resolution virtual reality and augmented reality calls could become commonplace thanks to 5G. Self driving cars that can talk to each other and lag free game streaming over the cloud through 5G to a mobile device will soon be around the corner.

For more on 5G, be sure to check out our guide on the basics of 5G.

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