The operator launched the standalone (SA) 5G network in what it dubbed ‘an exclusive market trial’

The network, which offers what M1 is calling ‘True 5G’, will reportedly offer 10-times the speed of M1’s 4G network and is “50% more responsive” than 4G and 5G non-standalone networks.

Access to the SA 5G network can be attained by signing up for M1’s ‘5Go Plus Booster’ plan; a current promotional offer will allow customers at least three months of free access to the network, followed by discounted access until the end of 2021. For now, the only smartphones compatible with the network will be Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, S21+, and S21 models. 

Of particular interest here is the availability of Voice over 5G New Radio (VoNR) services using the SA 5G network. These voice calls will be the first of their kind in the world, offering a clearer voice call experience and higher performance on data driven activities taking place simultaneously to the call.

The press release from M1 noted that other services traditionally linked with SA 5G – such as augmented and virtual reality, cloud gaming, and real-time interactive streaming – will be available “very soon”. 

“Customer centricity is at the heart of everything we do at M1 and we are thrilled to introduce the revolutionary True 5G network that will enable all our customers to live, work and connect better. Being Singapore’s first network operator to move our entire back-end system to a cloud-native platform, we will be able to unleash the full potential of 5G by riding on 5G SA’s cloud native architecture to create the latest and most superior services available in the country,” said Manjot Singh Mann, Chief Executive Officer at M1. “The commercialisation of 5G SA unlocks new business opportunities and revenue streams for us, while bringing about revolutionary advancements across various industries. It is also in line with Keppel’s Vision 2030, which includes empowering communities with digital connectivity.” 

According to the operator, its new SA 5G network covers “about 50%” of Singapore, including the Central Business District (CBD) and Marina Bay Financial Centre. Key, high data usage areas, such as Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Chinatown, Clementi, Orchard Road, Pasir Ris, Paya Lebar, Sengkang, Tampines and Woodlands, are also included. 

Coverage continues to be increased, with 75% of the nation expected to be covered by the end of 2021 and complete coverage in 2022. This timeline is notably far sooner than the requirements stipulated by the regulator during the most recent spectrum auction, which saw operators obligated to cover at least 50% of the island with SA 5G by 2022.


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