LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 ASIA PACIFIC, SINGAPORE: Singtel group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon (pictured) admitted a government requirement to move straight to standalone (SA) 5G created challenges, but noted it left the operator well-placed to capitalise on global opportunities the technology is opening.

In a panel discussion, Yuen noted the SA 5G plan raised the cost of deployment for Singtel and other operators at a time when the use cases were far from clear.

“In a way we were forced into it”, by government policy. From an economic standpoint, it “didn’t make sense at the time”.

But over the longer term, with a view to maximising the full benefits of the technology, Yuen said Singtel was better off: “It set the stage for investing in infrastructure. And now we have real use cases.”

Last month, Singtel claimed its 5G network covered more than 95 per cent of Singapore.

Yuen added it is also vital to bring enterprises into the equation by developing the right framework to enable them to start experimenting with small pilots.

He said the next stage is connecting the world, “which is where our role as a GSMA member becomes important”.

He insisted the 5G networks created in many countries need to be connected regionally and globally to develop a common platform.