Category Archives: Network Coverage

Reducing digital divide in Inner Mongolia’s Daxing’anling Mountains

China is arguably making the world’s biggest push to reduce the digital divide between rural and urban residents, with mobile carriers and telecom tower builders pouring tons of resources into ensuring that more people can access fast, affordable mobile communication and broadband network services.

The move is part of broader efforts launched by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Finance, to promote inclusive telecom services. Starting from the end of 2015, the central government, local governments and telecom carriers have earmarked billions of dollars to overcome geographical barriers to expand network construction and let more people benefit from the upgraded internet services.

One of the focuses is to expand the telecom signal coverage in Daxing’anling Mountains in Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Daxing’anling Mountains is a famous mountain range in the northeast of China, and it sits at the highest latitude in China and is known as “nature’s treasure trove.”

Last year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology approved the plan to build 121 4G telecom base stations in Daxing’anling Mountains, and most of the construction work has already been done.

After the project is completed, the public network coverage rate of forest farms, scenic spots, fire watch towers, important roads, and key fire danger areas in Daxing’anling Mountains can be increased to about 50 percent, up from less than 10 percent.

E Liye, a forest investigator for Daxing’anling Mountains, is one of local people who have benefited from the expanded telecom services. From April to November every year, E and his colleagues go deep into the mountains to carry out field surveys. However, this year is a little different. The data collected by the team members in the forest can be transmitted to technicians in real time through the 4G network for analysis. In the past, they had to ride motorcycles to bring the data to the technicians.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said more efforts will be made to increase support for key rural counties, border areas, and key forest and grassland fire prevention areas, and support broadband network coverage in villages, forest farms, pastures, and along major transportation routes. At the same time, the support for the construction of 5G networks in rural areas will also be increased year by year.

Singapore to Launch the First 6G R&D Lab in Southeast Asia

To enhance Singapore’s future communications and connectivity capabilities and talent, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has teamed with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), one of the world’s premier scientific research universities in telecommunications.

In anticipation of Singapore’s 6G future, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo launched SUTD’s Future Communications Connectivity (FCC) Lab, the region’s first physical 6G lab, which will also try to bring 6G R&D and SUTD’s AI Mega Centre together.

“SUTD is pleased to partner IMDA, to progress the industry’s research and educational institutions for talent development in Singapore’s wireless communications ecosystem. We look forward to accelerating the research translation of future communications technologies,” says Professor Chong Tow Chong, President, SUTD.

FCCLab will seek to unleash breakthroughs in 6G research and support developing technologies such as holographic communications and advanced sensing capabilities to enable the next generation of self-driving cars and drones.

According to Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, IMDA, the breakthroughs would not be conceivable without consistent investment and a focus on the next frontier. They are thrilled to be collaborating with SUTD to establish Southeast Asia’s first 6G Lab.

This is the beginning of their efforts to capitalise on the promise of future communications technology and become a global hub of excellence.

The FCCLab is part of Singapore’s S$70 million Future Communications Research & Development Programme and is located on the SUTD campus (FCP). The National Research Foundation, Singapore (NRF) is funding FCP as part of its Research, Innovation, and Enterprise (RIE) initiatives, with SUTD serving as the host institution.

FCP will coordinate diverse research efforts across the RIE ecosystem, with Research Institutes (RIs), Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), and other RIE efforts.

FCCLab Testbed will adhere to 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP1) and Open RAN Standards to facilitate the straightforward evaluation of research outputs. Individually replaceable network components permit customised study.

SUTD, as the host university, will lead collaborations across the Singapore ecosystem, including A*STAR, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).

SUTD has currently awarded 20 FCP grant projects for both research and translation. The research projects are focused on multi-access edge computing, network orchestration, non-terrestrial networks, and security, whereas the translation projects are centred on use cases and have a thematic focus on new mobility capabilities for air, land, and sea applications.

FCP has also provided 14 Masters-level scholarships for local students to pursue research and translations in future communications technologies to boost the pipeline of Singaporean talent.

Singapore has already formed 6G agreements with premier 6G institutes throughout the world, including Finland’s 6G Flagship and the Korean Institute of Communications and Information Sciences. SUTD is also collaborating with both local and multinational corporations as part of the FCP programme.

Moreover, the 5G communications networks are meant to be the backbone of digital transformation and make it possible for all industries to make huge technological changes.

5G is anticipated to offer enhanced mobile broadband and mission-critical internet of things (IoT) bringing the internet of everything, everywhere. While 5G is being implemented, it is crucial to consider the gaps left by 5G and begin developing 6G technologies to fill them.

Telcos set to break revenue record across APAC

JAKARTA – Telecommunication firms (telcos) across Asia-Pacific are expected to see revenue grow next year at the fastest pace since 2016, thanks to soaring demand for data and broadband in the region.

Investment in 5G networks is expected to rise further in Asia-Pacific emerging markets like Indonesia, China, India, Malaysia and the Philippines, with capital expenditure (capex) intensity to be around 30-33 percent, according to a report released by Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday.

Capex intensity is the ratio of capex in relation to sales.

Moody’s senior vice president Annalisa di Chiara highlighted that capex growth at telcos in the region’s more developed markets –namely Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand– was estimated to stagnate at just 16-18 percent. ‘

“APAC’s data and broadband consumption will thrive, while further consolidation will temper competition over the next few years. These buoyant conditions will propel revenue at a pace of 4 to 4.5 percent through 2023,” she said, as quoted in the report.

Meanwhile, Moody’s vice president and senior analyst Nidhi Dhruv noted that most APAC telcos were facing profitability pressure due to stiff competition, although they could still fund their capex from cash flows.

“Sector-wide average leverage will remain stable at 2.3x to 2.5x, supported by EBITDA growth and relatively unchanged debt levels from 2021,” she said.

PT Telkom Indonesia posted consolidated annual revenue growth of 3.6 percent to Rp 72 trillion (US$4.81 billion) in the first half of this year.

Telkom’s EBITDA over the same period rose 4.5 percent to Rp 39.4 trillion, while its net income hit Rp 13.3 trillion, up 6.9 percent year-on-year (yoy).

According to Telkom’s latest financial report, the achievement was supported by the company’s focus on digitalization.

Telkom president director Ririek Adriansyah said the state-owned telco continued to boost its competitive advantage, for example by listing its subsidiary Mitratel last year and by consolidating its data center business.

“We are also preparing new growth engines with fixed mobile convergence, B2B IT services as well as selected investment in digital companies,” he said in a statement last month. [

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During the first half of this year, Telkom’s revenue composition shifted in line with the firm’s ambition to grab more income from its digital business, as the contribution of legacy revenue streams, such as SMS and MMS, continued to slide.

Telkom’s mobile communication subsidiary Telkomsel recorded revenue of Rp 43.6 trillion in the first six months of 2022 thanks to 21.4 percent yoy growth in data traffic.

Telkomsel dominates the domestic market with 169.7 million users at the end of June, including 119.3 million data users.

To develop infrastructure supporting its digital business, Telkomsel has built 154,000 4G base transceiver stations (BTS) and is gradually building 5G BTS.

In total, Telkomsel owned 255,107 BTS at the end of the first half of 2022, up 7.5 percent yoy, of which 204,908 were 3G/4G/5G BTS.

Singapore Extends 5G Coverage to Seaport, Boosting the Maritime Industry

To promote the usage of 5G in maritime operations, Singapore will extend its standalone 5G coverage to its seaport,  which will span terminals, fairways, boarding grounds, and anchorages by mid-2025, according to a report by ComputerWeekly.com

Innovating the Maritime Industry with 5G

This would open the door for testing and commercialization of marine 5G use cases through the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Maritime Port Authority‘s (MPA5G@Sea) testbed, beginning with the remote pilotage of ships approaching the port of Singapore. 

A qualified harbor pilot must currently physically board vessels with a gross tonnage of 300 or more and give shipmasters instructions on how to operate the vessel safely through Singapore’s waterways. 

The harbor pilot typically rides in a small harbor craft to the ship from the pier before ascending a set of vertical ladders to the ship’s deck, as noted by ComputerWeekly.com.

But with 5G, the requirement to physically board the ship is eliminated because the pilot may remotely operate the ship from an onshore control center utilizing real-time video vision. 

According to IMDA, this will greatly improve resource usage, increase safety, and change the role of a harbor pilot from physically difficult work to remote operations. 

Using drones to transport vital components to ships at sea rather than having them land at a terminal for immediate inspections and repairs is another example of a maritime 5G use case. 

The Technology of Choice for the Maritime Sector

Singapore telco M1 will install the 5G network at the country’s port. According to Manjot Singh Mann, CEO of M1, 5G has the potential to address enduring problems and will inevitably become the technology of choice for the maritime sector.

The development of enterprise 5G has accelerated recently in the southeast Asian country. Singtel has been leading 5G installations in industries like manufacturing, teleoperations, and construction, in addition to M1.

Singtel and Continental signed a contract earlier this week that would use the Paragon multi-access edge compute platform to increase the situational awareness of car systems and raise road safety. 

“Singtel’s pervasive 5G network and its Paragon edge cloud platform offering high bandwidth, low latency connectivity and compute capabilities, coupled with Continental’s deep expertise in automotive innovation, will propel new growth in smart mobility and fleet management,” Singtel’s CEO of group enterprise and regional data center business, Bill Chang, said in a statement. 

U Mobile says no to stake in DNB, to go solo on 5G

Telecommunications company U Mobile Sdn Bhd said today it has rejected the government’s proposal to all major telcos to purchase a stake in Digital Nasional Berhad’s (DNB) for the 5G roll-out, via its share subscription agreement (SSA).

In a statement today, U Mobile said that it would be going solo in offering its 5G services and products to consumers.

“U Mobile has had extensive discussions and deliberations on the matter and after taking into consideration the terms of the investment as it currently stands, the telco has decided that it will not pursue the investment option in DNB.

“The telco believes it would better serve Malaysians by focusing on its strengths of providing innovative and unbeatable connectivity and digital services, that would realise the full potential of 5G technology. The telco’s decision not to invest in DNB does not affect its ability to provide 5G services to customers as access to DNB’s 5G network infrastructure is governed by a separate access agreement, which is not linked to the equity investment in DNB,” it said.

DNB was established in early March 2021 to accelerate the deployment of 5G infrastructure and network in Malaysia. It will offer 5G as a wholesale network service to other telcos.

Putrajaya has been in constant negotiations with telcos in the country over the rollout of 5G, with telcos constantly pushing back for more favourable terms — advocating for a dual wholesale network (DWN) model instead of the government’s single wholesale network (SWN) — which they claim would provide better optimising availability and pricing of 5G.

U Mobile said that the company and other telcos are in discussions to finalise the 5G access agreement with DNB.

“Once it is finalised and signed, DNB’s 5G access when combined with U Mobile’s existing 4G network will enable U Mobile customers to enjoy a truly seamless connectivity experience. U Mobile has full faith that DNB will be on schedule for the deployment of quality 5G network infrastructure and that it will carry out the government’s mandate to provide wholesale 5G coverage and capacity on an equitable and non-discriminatory basis via the 5G access agreement.

“U Mobile has been testing 5G services and is looking forward to our customers enjoying the full benefits of 5G with our 5G-ready products and services soon,” it added.

DNB yesterday said that the SSAs will be revised to accommodate just the four remaining major telecommunications firms, after being rejected by two mobile network operators (MNOs).

The national 5G agency said it considered the SSAs finalised and ready to be executed with the six mobile carriers yesterday, but two ultimately did not continue.

DNB said that one operator decided not to proceed while the other did not respond despite its confirmation to participate earlier.

The firm did not name the carriers, although it was earlier reported that Maxis Bhd and U Mobile had declined to take up the shareholder agreement after negotiations did not meet their requirements.

Reuters report quoting sources said that the two mobile carriers declined the offer after the government knocked back a proposal that four carriers — Maxis, U Mobile, along with Celcom Axiata Bhd and DiGi Telecommunications — take a combined majority stake in the agency.

But the government had instead asked six mobile operators in the country to agree to take up a combined 70 per cent stake in the agency, but Maxis and U Mobile reportedly declined, as they could not see the benefits of being a minority shareholder.

Maxis and U Mobile could not see benefits in being a minority shareholder in DNB, according to two of the sources, who requested anonymity as they were not authorised to talk about the private negotiations.

Despite the development, however, DNB said that discussions on the 5G access agreements were progressing with all six major mobile carriers in the country and that the rollout plan is on track.