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Feature Articles

StarHub 5G speed tests round #2: How does it hold up against its own 4G?

By PY Ho & Liu Hongzuo - 25 Oct 2020

StarHub 5G vs StarHub 4G - why?

Note: This feature was first published on 4 Sept 2020.

(Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash.)

After last week's taste test of StarHub's 5G trial network, the HWZ team wondered if there's more to the speeds we were seeing. After all, 5G is slated to offer amazing latency and gigabit-speeds regardless of SA or NSA infrastructure. We also wondered if the network coverage improved since our last brush with it, since it expanded from 53% to 60% coverage in just one week. Before long, we were off on another road trip around other parts of Singapore to see whether StarHub has made good on its word for 5G expansion.

Related read: StarHub's 5G promise, what is 5G SA vs. 5G NSA, and our first taste of 5G

Well, the network was still quite challenging to catch, especially when our testing sometimes showed a 4G signal when we were connected to the 5G network, but it certainly has expanded beyond our expectations. We've added some new areas into the mix, such as Changi Airport, the general Jurong area, and also Singapore's hub for Smart Nation, Biopolis and Fusionopolis.

We've kept the testing parameters similar to our last run. However, our curiosity has led us to try pitting it against StarHub's very own 4G network for comparisons.

Our speed tests were undertaken across multiple days:

  • Sunday 30 Aug, 10-11PM (E!Hub, Airport)
  • Monday 31 Aug, 9:30AM-5PM (One-north region, West Mall, JEM/Westgate)
  • Tuesday 1 Sep, 12-2PM (Junction 8, Causeway Point), and 9PM (Punggol East)
  • Wednesday 2 Sep, 11AM-6PM (Vivocity, CBD, Orchard, MBS)

After driving about 150km, spending S$11 on parking charges, lots of walking in between, and busting our own StarHub's grandfathered L plan's mobile data allotment by another 8GB (it only had 8GB to begin with), what did we find out about StarHub's new 5G network? 

Our pair of Oppo Find X2 flagship phones - one with 5G firmware enabled, and the other still using current commercial firmware.

Before we go on to the test results per area, here are our testing parameters:

  • The testing app was none other than the latest version of Speedtest by Ookla app available on the Google Play Store.
     
  • We used two identical phone models - the Oppo Find X2 Pro - where one had access to StarHub's 5G network, while the other was connected to StarHub's 4G network.
     
  • Both handsets were tested against third-party, independent servers - namely, fdcservers.net and OVH Cloud.
     
  • While one test phone was using a trial 5G SIM card using StarHub's new Mobile+ plan, the other device was using a personal 4G SIM card service that's subscribed to StarHub's old postpaid L plan. This should give us a theoretical look at what 5G is capable now against an actively used 4G service.
     
  • We would constantly find ways to make the 5G-capable test phone latch onto the 5G network. It involved nothing more than the liberal use of Airplane Mode or restarting the phone. For the 4G network control unit, we simply ensured it was at full signal bar during the test, or the highest possible number of signal bars for that area.
     
  • All speed tests were conducted while stationary, with one test device in each hand.

Hit the next page to find out what results we achieved!