StarHub today (18 August) introduced 5G trial service in Singapore using the non-standalone architecture, with plans for a commercial standalone (SA) network launch by mid-2021.

In a statement, the operator said the trial runs until 16 February and uses the 2.1GHz band, reaching 53 per cent of the population. It plans to expand coverage to 70 per cent by next month.

StarHub explained it upgraded some top-tier data plans with 5G capabilities, offering free service to those with compatible handsets including the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G and Note20 5G, and Huawei’s P40 Pro+ 5G.

The company is working with various handset manufacturers to make more 5G models available.

Johan Buse, chief of StarHub’s Consumer Business Group, said it is eager for customers to “catch an early glimpse into the ultra-fast speed and ultra-low latency upgrades that will empower hundreds of thousands of consumers, enterprises and government clients”.

Last week, the operator estimated its initial 5G capital investment will be about SGD200 million ($146.4 million) over a five-year period, as it moves to deploy a joint network with rival M1.

In April, the government awarded licences to build two nationwide SA 5G networks to the StarHub-M1joint venture and market leader Singtel. The winners were each allocated 100MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum.