From 22nd December onwards, SingTel will offer its first commercial LTE mobile broadband service, with typical download speeds between 3.4Mbps to 12Mbps. Named Broadband on Mobile Prestige 75, the new LTE plan will be priced at S$69.90 per month with a free Huawei E392 USB modem and free Wireless@SG at speeds of 3Mbps tossed in.
|SingTel Broadband on Mobile Prestige 85 LTE Price Plan|
|Price (including GST)||S$69.90 per month|
|Data Bundle||50GB 3G data (21Mbps ) + 10GB LTE data|
|Excess Charges||S$0.512/MB, capped at S$94.16 per month|
|Download Speed||Theoretical: 75Mbps
Typical range: 3.4Mbps to 12Mbps
Comes with free Huawei E392 USB LTE modem and free Wireless@SG (3Mbps)
According to Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, SingTel's Executive Vice President of Digital Consumer, the new LTE plans will see an island wide coverage that covers 80% of mobile data users by the end of 2012, with a Q1 2013 timeframe for a 95% island wide coverage.
For now, the LTE plan will be offered as a mobile broadband plan, which means customers will only be able to enjoy the higher data speeds through the Huawei USB modem. SingTel is planning to offer a similar plan for smartphones and tablets for consumers sometime next year, though this is subjected to the availability of devices that are LTE-ready.
During its initial launch SingTel's LTE coverage will be limited to the central financial district and areas that experience high data usage. This includes locations such as:
SingTel has also confirmed that the LTE network will be built on the 2600MHz spectrum, but its eventual island wide coverage will include the 1800Mhz spectrum supporting LTE speeds. Typically, a higher spectrum will also mean that the signal has a lower penetration rate into indoor areas. As such, SingTel will also provide in-buliding coverage within major shopping malls and offices such as:
Similar to its 3G mobile broadband plans, the Prestige 75 plan will come with a data limit. To provide extensive coverage, the data bundle includes 50GB of 3G data at 21Mbps and 10GB of LTE data. As such, once you've left the LTE coverage area, you will be switched down to a 21Mbps speed, which falls under the 50GB limit.
One caveat that should be noted: according to SingTel, should your LTE data hit the 10GB limit within the LTE coverage area, the device won't automatically switch to the 3G speed with a 50GB limit. Instead, excess charges will kick in at S$0.512 per MB, capped at S$94.16 per month.
Existing customers on SingTel's Premium 21 3G mobile broadband plan who are paying S$59.90 per month have the option to upgrade their plan to Prestige 75 with a top-up of S$10 per month.
Within Singapore, LTE has been picking up over the past few months, with M1 demonstrating its LTE speeds during CommunicAsia 2011. SingTel is the first service provider to roll out the commercial availability of LTE within 2011, while M1 will be looking to fully deploy its LTE network sometime in Q1 2012.
Update: We just received word from StarHub that the company has now extended its LTE trials to the 1800MHz band for better, deeper LTE coverage in the future.The 1800 MHz band is particularly favored for LTE deployment as it has approximately twice the coverage area compared to 2.6GHz and is better suited for indoor coverage. StarHub has also stated that given the device roadmaps of most device manufacturers, the service provider would likely launch LTE services in the second half of 2012.