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Nokia helps M1 Singapore roll out commercial NB-IoT and HetNet

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Finnish networking giant Nokia has secured a double win with Singapore MNO M1 with the roll out of Singapore’s first commercial HetNet and a deal to do the same for NB-IoT early next year.

M1 defines a HetNet (heterogeneous network) as one that combines large and small cells as well as different radio technologies such as cellular and wifi. This HetNet roll out overlaid Nokia Flexi Zone small cells and wifi equipment on M1’s 4G network. The operator expects this upgrade to deliver peak download speeds in 1 Gbps by next year.

“We’re pleased to see another milestone in M1 and Nokia’s joint efforts in bringing advanced technology to real life,” said Nokia APAC VP Sandeep Girotra. “M1 is Nokia’s first customer for Flexi Zone Multiband Base Transceiver Station in Asia and this project has demonstrated our continuous commitment to support the operator’s bold steps towards 5G.”

“Our HetNet rollout will enable us to further enrich our customers’ lives,” said Karen Kooi, CEO of M1. “This HetNet deployment is also an integral part of our 5G network roadmap, the infrastructure on which we will build an ubiquitous on-demand, high-performance 5G service for our customers and that enables us to support our Smart Nation vision.”

“The results from our HetNet technology trials were positive,” said Gabriel Lim, Chief Executive-Designate, Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). “90% of users enjoyed a better mobile experience, with faster download and upload speeds. We are pleased that the trials have given our partners such as M1 useful insights and confidence to further enhance the mobile experience through commercial HetNet deployment.

The two companies announced they will also collaborate over the launch of a commercial NB-IoT network in the first half of 2017. NB-IoT is the low-power WAN technology endorsed by the 3GPP and is increasingly looking likely to be the default option for dedicated IoT networks. The companies expect this to be one of the world’s first commercial NB-IoT deployments.

“NB-IoT technology is the key to connecting the coming wave of smart devices,” said Kooi. “Our strategic partnership with Nokia to deploy an advanced nationwide NB-IoT network strengthens our ability to support Singapore’s IoT eco-system, to drive the innovative and effective new fleet management, smart metering, public safety and other smart solutions deployed by our growing customers in the corporate and Government segments.”

Nokia’s joint collaboration of NB-IoT deployment with M1 lays an important groundwork for further application of LTE-based IoT services,” said Girotra. “We will continue to work with our customers and make R&D efforts for innovative technologies in enabling IoT connectivity.”

“As more and more devices become connected, NB-IoT will enable exciting new possibilities as Singapore moves towards a Smart Nation,” said Lim. “The industry plays an important role in this journey, and it is encouraging to see tech players such as M1 and Nokia taking the leap forward to implement new communications technology in realising the potential of IoT.”

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