M1 became the latest Singaporean operator to stake a claim for supremacy in standalone (SA) 5G, launching the service in around half of the city state alongside a free trial to encourage adoption.

The company is marketing the service as True 5G, with users able to sign up for a limited trial as a bolt-on to existing contracts. M1 plans to eventually charge a supplementary fee for SA of between SGD5 ($3.67) and SGD15 per month, depending on the type of contract.

Running on top of the new network, the operator is also providing users of devices from Samsung’s Galaxy S21 range with access to Voice over 5G New Radio (VoNR) services, a move it describes as a world first.

VoNR, it noted, would provide “crystal clear high-definition voice calls, improved productivity with 5G speeds on data-driven activities throughout the duration of voice calls, as well as faster call set-up time”.

M1’s SA 5G network covers half of the state at launch including busy town centre areas and the financial district. It plans to meet a 75 per cent coverage goal by the end of the year with the remainder connected during 2022.

CEO Manjot Singh Mann said: “Being Singapore’s first network operator to move our entire back-end system to a cloud-native platform, we will be able to unleash the full potential of 5G by riding on 5G SA’s cloud native architecture to create the latest and most superior services available in the country.”

Rival Singtel announced a limited launch of its SA 5G network in May. Fellow major operator StarHub also has availability slated for this year, having started distributing compatible SIM cards to customers last month.