Singapore introduces 4G Quality of Service standards

MNOs in the republic will need to provide reliable 4G coverage to 95 percent of outdoor areas from this July.

By Nurdianah Md Nur
June 2, 2016

As connectivity is enabling the Smart Nation vision and becoming increasingly vital to daily lives, Singapore has unveiled its plans to strengthen its connectivity landscape.

The republic will do so by looking into new areas, both from the regulatory and industry development perspectives, announced Gabriel Lim, CE-designate for the Infocomm Media and Development Authority (IMDA) and Co-Managing Director of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) at the opening of CommunicAsia yesterday (1 June 2016).

According to IDA, 4.2 million mobile users in Singapore have subscribed to 4G services as of February 2016. In line with this increasing use of 4G, IDA has rolled out a set of 4G Quality of Service (QoS) standards to ensure mobile phone users experience an acceptable level of service quality in Singapore.

Imposed on the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) who are providing 4G services, the standards relate to the pervasiveness of mobile coverage in Singapore, which includes outdoor areas, tunnels and within building premises.

For instance, IDA requires MNOs to cover 95 percent of outdoor areas from 1 July 2016, and will increase it to at least 99 percent from 1 July 2017. IDA will also impose similar standards on the fourth new MNO, if any, who will be provided with more lead-time to roll out its network to meet the standards.

The new standards are similar to the 3G QoS standards that were enhanced in 2012, and IDA will concurrently impose both sets of QoS standards on the MNOs.

Aside from standards, IDA also gathers feedback on mobile users' quality of experience when using mobile broadband. The MyConnection SG app allows consumers to provide feedback on their user experience, with IDA using the feedback to engage the MNOs to enhance service delivery for all mobile users.

Available on Android and iOS platforms, IDA encourages consumers to download the app, and complement IDA's regulatory standards to ensure a high level of mobile service availability and usability in Singapore.

"In this new economy, an important advancement lies in the convergence of infocomm and media (ICM), and [Singapore is] well placed to take advantage of this. We will look to build upon Singapore's strong connectivity foundation through more industry collaborations," said Lim.

Next step to improve connectivity
To further improve connectivity in Singapore, IDA is looking at technology developments and innovations in wireless networks. One such technology is the Heterogeneous Networks (HetNet), which is currently being tested at the Jurong Lake District to potentially benefit residents and commuters at Jurong East Central.

The vision of HetNet is to bring about the best experience in fast and seamless connectivity, regardless of the type of wireless network available. HetNet works by seamlessly switching between different networks, such as cellular and Wi-Fi networks. It also uses small cells to complement existing macro cells, to bolster network capacity and improve the mobile user experience.

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