08 October 2015

Over 100 macro and small cell base stations dishing out 4G speeds of up to 300Mbps

Singapore, 8 October 2015 – StarHub’s 4G Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) in Marina Bay has served hundreds of thousands of customers at two recent major annual events. Over the SG50 Jubilee and 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix weekends, StarHub’s customers enjoyed 100% mobile service availability, with the HetNet processing at its peak more than 600 GB of 4G data in an hour, surpassing last year’s traffic by over three times.

StarHub first deployed an award-winning1 HetNet solution in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands early this year. The HetNet coverage has now been expanded with over 100 macro base stations and small cells working in unison to serve mobile customers within and around The Esplanade, The Float@Marina Bay, The Fullerton Heritage, The Padang and War Memorial Park.

A classical homogeneous mobile network consists of high-powered macro base stations designed to cover several kilometres in radius each. A HetNet, on the other hand, is a mix of macro base stations and small cells or even enterprise-grade Wi-Fi access points to provide a mosaic of mobile coverage and seamless handover capability between the different wireless access technologies within an operator’s network. Hence, HetNets are mainly deployed to optimise the quality of mobile experience at crowded sites, hard-to-reach areas or special events.

Compact in size and low in power consumption, small cells typically cover a couple hundred metres each and are installed on physical structures, such as  ceilings, pillars and lampposts. This makes small cells ideal for filling mobile coverage gaps left by their bigger siblings and enhancing capacity of a mobile network without additional wireless spectrum use. Small cells is an important technology in successful HetNet deployments. In contrast, rolling out and operating a pure small cells network is a complex operation, that may cost up to eight times more than a classical mobile network. Therefore, small cells alone are not used to provide nationwide mobile coverage cost-effectively.

“As the fastest 4G network in the world2, StarHub remains committed to providing our customers with the best possible mobile service experience,” said Mock Pak Lum, Chief Technology Officer, StarHub. “With small cells as a cost-effective means of boosting network capacity and speeds, we plan to deploy more HetNets with the help of our infrastructure partners Huawei and Nokia Networks, to ensure mobile service quality for our customers and to catalyse Singapore’s Smart Nation innovations.”

In time for the nation’s countdown to 2016, StarHub will continue to expand its HetNet to cover Marina Bay Sands, Marina Bay City Gallery and The Promontory@Marina Bay. By the end of next year, some 40 commercial buildings, hospitals and malls, including nex, Jem, and KK Women's and Children's Hospital, will progressively get this network upgrade. In addition, StarHub will test the seamless integration of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi with macro and small cell technologies in the IDA HetNet trial circuit at Jurong Lake District.

1 “Best Innovation in Heterogeneous Networks” at LTE Asia Awards 2015

2 “The State of LTE” report by OpenSignal (June 2015 - August 2015)