Singtel and Ericsson today said they have achieved peak LTE speed of up to 1.5 Gbps in a lab environment using five-carrier aggregation. This is the fastest in Asia in this setup and 50 percent faster than the prevailing 1Gbps speed that the two companies announced in February this year.

Singtel will gradually deploy the new speed across the island as more spectrum bands are allocated for the LTE network. Smartphones supporting 1.5 Gbps speeds are scheduled to be launched in 2019.

“We are constantly investing in innovative technologies to boost network speeds, enhance coverage and expand capacity to give our customers the best network experience,” said Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Singapore and Group Chief Digital Officer at Singtel. “As our customers’ lifestyles increasingly revolve around their smartphones, we do our best to ensure they enjoy fast, reliable, comprehensive and secure connectivity.”

The enhanced network speed was achieved in collaboration with Ericsson with a first-of-its-kind carrier aggregation of five carriers, which boosts network bandwidth. A combination of two 1800 MHz frequencies, together with 2100 MHz, 2600 MHz and TDD 2500 MHz spectrum bands and technologies such as FDD & TDD, 256QAM and 4X4 MIMO was used to achieve the peak speed of 1.5 Gbps. When introduced in the live network, such capability improves user experience and enhances network capacity. For instance, customers can download a two-hour 4K video in eight minutes.

“Ericsson has been a leader in pioneering technologies,” said Mr Martin Wiktorin, Head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei & the Philippines. “By leveraging five-carrier aggregation across both FDD & TDD, we continue to lead the way to meet customers speed and capacity demands. We are proud to be working on new capabilities and advancements on LTE.”

Singtel and Ericsson will launch a pilot 5G network in Singapore in the fourth quarter of 2018. Singtel was recently named Asia’s Best Mobile Carrier by Telecom Asia and was recognised by global metrics leader, Ookla, for having the fastest mobile network speeds in Singapore.