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Singtel, Ericsson to invest S$2m over 3 years to spearhead Singapore's 5G development

SINGTEL and Sweden's Ericsson will jointly establish a Centre of Excellence to facilitate 5G development and deployment in Singapore. Co-funded by the partners with an initial investment of S$2 million over the next three years, the centre aims to spearhead the development of the city-state's 5G mobile network infrastructure to support future Smart Nation initiatives.

The centre will also be open to Australian telco Optus, and Singtel's regional associates across Asia and Africa to encourage knowledge sharing within the group. 5G, the next-generation mobile network technology, is expected to roll out globally from 2020.

The centre's goal is to help industries and enterprises understand the transformational value of 5G and use it to shape their long-term planning, Singtel and Ericsson said in a joint release.

Upskilling, demos, live field trials and partnerships with tertiary institutions are the four activities the centre will conduct. Activities are slated to begin in end-2017, beginning with Ericsson providing 5G expertise and conducting workshops, with field testing and hands-on experience for 100 Singtel engineers following later.

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Mark Chong, Singtel's group chief technology officer, hailed 5G as a "critical next step" and said that the partnership with Ericsson will enhance Singtel's 5G core competencies and "create a robust 5G ecosystem that will allow Singtel and our enterprise customers to benefit from the anticipated growth opportunities 5G will bring".

A next generation mobile network technology, 5G will see an expected global rollout in 2020 and will enable, among other uses, high speed mobile Internet, autonomous vehicles and smart cities.

The technology will enable port operators to provide remote control of autonomous guided vehicles within port operations and improve platooning reliability, which will boost operations efficiency, says Singtel.

5G will provide opportunities and "boost annual revenue of mobile operators by US$582 billion from the year 2026", and 5G-enabled industries such as the energy and public transport sectors will see a 34 per cent increase in revenues, according to Ericsson's Report on 5G Business Potential released earlier this year.

Beginning next year, a mobile 5G test bed will be deployed to perform live 5G field trials with selected enterprise customers.

As at 3.07pm, Singtel's shares were trading down 0.27 per cent at S$3.67.