Singapore based mobile Telecommunication operator, StarHub and Malaysia based mobile Telco U Mobile have announced that they will be conducting one of the world’s first 5G standalone (5G SA) roaming trials. The 5G SA roaming trials will be done completely independent of 4G network infrastructure, differing from most other roaming trials which use 5G non-standalone (5G NSA) technology.
NSA stands for Non-Standalone which is to say that the 5G network will be supported by existing 4G infrastructure. Thus, 5G-enabled devices will connect to 5G frequencies for data throughput but will still use 4G for non-data features such as connecting to the base stations and servers. 5G NSA network can only support two use cases, Enhanced Mobile Broadband and Massive Machine Type Communications.
The 5G Standalone (SA) network is totally independent of 4G infrastructure. The advantage of Standalone is easier and better efficiency, which will reduce the cost of the devices, and improve performance in data throughput up to the border of the network, while also helping development of wireless use cases such as ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC). 5G SA network supports all major use case scenarios.
Through the testing process, both U Mobile and Starhub will monitor performance and gather insights which will help the Telcos establish key aspects like the right network configurations and settings to ensure seamless 5G roaming experience for customers when 5G rolls out commercially. The telcos will also be looking into aspects such as the right commercial price point for 5G roaming in both countries.
StarHub’s Chief Technology Officer, Chong Siew Loong said, “Our customers’ always-on lifestyles transcend borders. When 5G arrives, we want to continue delivering to customers the same best-in-Singapore connectivity wherever they may be. There is no better place to start 5G roaming trials than in Malaysia, our closest neighbour and one of our customers’ top travel destinations. Collaborating with U Mobile on 5G is part of StarHub’s #HelloChange journey to push the limits of innovation for customers to enjoy the best service experience.”
Chief Technology Officer of U Mobile, Woon Ooi Yuen shared, “U Mobile has been aggressively expanding our network and we are rapidly catching up to our older peers, even garnering the title of being the most improved mobile operator in Malaysia. In this growth trajectory, we are also putting huge priority on 5G. In our 5G efforts, apart from fully supporting the government’s National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan, we thought it would be beneficial if we took a step further to be one of the first in the world to conduct 5G SA roaming trials.”
Woon added that U Mobile is delighted to be partnering StarHub for such a significant industry milestone. “U Mobile believes that these 5G SA trials will not only benefit the business and travel communities who regularly commute between the two countries; we also think it will be beneficial to the healthcare industry as 5G SA may enable remote surgery to be done across borders. This collaboration between U Mobile and StarHub will accelerate the take up of 5G services between both countries.”
The world’s first 5G SA roaming trials between StarHub and U Mobile are slated to take place in the first quarter of 2020. The trials will include use cases such as ‘live’ cross-border holographic calls and multi-party video calls. The 5G SA trials will be conducted in collaboration with Huawei.