Singtel’s HetNet trial sets stage for VoWiFi, paves way for IoT … whaaat?

  • Can make voice calls and text over WiFi in areas with poor mobile reception
  • Transition seamlessly between mobile and WiFi networks without the need for an app
Singtel’s HetNet trial sets stage for VoWiFi, paves way for IoT … whaaat?

SINGAPORE Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel) said it will roll out the island-republic’s first commercial Voice-over-WiFi service in August, on the back of what it said were positive results from its Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) trial conducted over the past one year at the Jurong Lake District.
A collaboration with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the trial has been a proving ground for Singtel’s next-generation network innovations such as Voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) and the Internet of Things (IoT), the telco said in a statement.
The trial found that Singtel mobile users could continue to make voice calls and text over WiFi in areas that are technically challenging for mobile signals, as their smartphones transitioned seamlessly between mobile and WiFi networks, without the need of an installed app, Singtel claimed.
This would allow Singtel mobile users to make uninterrupted voice calls and text over WiFi in locations such as basements and buildings above 20 storeys high – services even more users can enjoy when VoWiFi is deployed nationwide in two months.
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The trial also demonstrated the readiness of Singtel’s HetNet to support the IoT in providing, for example, reliable, 24/7 connection to a real-time air quality sensing device tracking PSI and CO2 levels – the only one of its kind in South-East Asia, the company claimed.
“In the near future, with millions of connected devices fuelling data demand, ensuring a consistent experience for multiple mobile customers across different locations is paramount,” said Yuen Kuan Moon, chief executive officer, Consumer Singapore, Singtel.
“With pervasive connectivity and higher data capacity set to become the norm, it was important for us to conduct a HetNet trial to gain further insights.
“Given our positive trial results, we are ready to support the IoT with our networks and provide Singtel mobile users with high-quality voice calls and SMS island-wide,” he added.
The Jurong Lake District (JLD) trial was conducted at crowded spaces such as malls, MRT stations, HDB neighbourhoods and on board a bus.
It is the latest in Singtel’s Hetnet initiatives undertaken over two years ago to enhance network capacity. Singtel has deployed its HetNet at crowded areas such as the Marina Bay Sands food court, Nex, VivoCity and Changi Exhibition Centre.
“We are encouraged by the positive results from the HetNet technology trials,” said IDA co- managing director Gabriel Lim.
“90% of the trial users enjoyed a better mobile experience, with faster download and upload speeds. They also enjoyed better connectivity, smooth transitions between wireless and cellular networks, and more enjoyable mobile surfing experiences at crowded areas such as train stations.
“We will use the lessons from the trial to work with our industry partners to further enhance the experience of Singapore mobile users,” he added.
The new VoWiFI service will be available at any accessible WiFi hotspot including homes, Singtel Premium WiFi and Wireless@SG locations, the company said.
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