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Gadgets & Home Improvement

M1 launches 4G network today

M1's LTE is the first of such a network in Southeast Asia.
The Straits Times - June 21, 2011
By: Chua Hian Hou
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M1 launches 4G network today Workers setting up a model of a panda at an exhibitor's booth near the China pavilion for the CommunicAsia trade show at Marina Bay Sands yesterday. More than 2,000 companies are showcasing their products and services at the four-day event. -- ST PHOTO:

BUSINESS customers of M1 will be able to sign up for 4G, or fourth-generation, mobile network services from today.

Their key to blazing mobile broadband access speeds will come courtesy of thumb-sized modems called dongles, which they will use to hook up their notebook computers to the Internet.

M1's $280 million long-term evolution (LTE) launching today will produce access speeds of up to 75Mbps, four times faster than possible via current 3G technology.

It is the first such network to go live in South-East Asia.

SingTel said it will begin replacing its existing high-end dongles with LTE-ready ones from next month, ahead of an October launch of its LTE service, while a StarHub spokesman said it will launch its service later this year.

For now, however, M1's LTE network coverage will extend only from Tanjong Pagar to Beach Road, including the financial district. By March next year, coverage will be nationwide, and M1 will boost download speeds up to 150Mbps.

M1 chief executive Karen Kooi said: 'Enhancing our customers' experience remains our priority, and we will continue to invest in networks and to innovate to deliver a superior wireless Internet experience.'

An M1 spokesman said that, until more LTE-capable consumer devices such as smartphones and tablet computers enter the market, its LTE services will be sold only to business customers.

Very few consumer LTE devices are available commercially now - the HTC Thunderbolt and LG Revolution, available only from American telco Verizon are examples - but M1 expects more such gadgets to begin shipping this year.

The company is among more than 2,000 companies, including Facebook game developer Zynga and Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, showcasing their products and services at CommunicAsia, the region's biggest communications technology trade show, which starts its four-day run today at Marina Bay Sands.

This year's show also marks the return of Finnish phone giant Nokia to the event, a decade after its withdrawal.

CommunicAsia's sister event BroadcastAsia, featuring the latest in 3-D cameras and ultra-compact satellite dishes, will have its run concurrently at the Suntec Convention Centre.

If past events are any indication, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim will make several major announcements this morning, when he takes to the podium to deliver his keynote address.

Last year, then Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew used the CommunicAsia platform to announce a new national security system for online transactions, as well as a proposal to cut roaming charges by 30 per cent for Singaporeans making calls in Malaysia.

 

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