Singapore’s largest mobile operator Singtel announced the nationwide deployment of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service, which it said deliverers peak download speeds of 450Mb/s.

The operator, with a 49 per cent market share, said the LTE-A service was up to 50 per cent faster than existing LTE services.

More than half of Singtel’s 4.1 million mobile customers use its 4G network. The company said the new service is available to all 4G subscribers at no additional charge.

The network update makes use of 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), a pre-5G technology which increases the number of unique radio waveform shapes to carry up to 33 per cent more data, and increases spectral efficiency, Singtel said in a statement.

Customers with Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge devices can benefit from the LTE-A upgrade right away, while LG V20 users will need to wait for a soon-to-be released software update. More compatible smartphone models are expected to be launched early this year.

Meanwhile, Singtel and Ericsson recently demonstrated download speeds of up to 1Gb/s in a live 4G network pilot at two sites in Pasir Ris. This ultra-fast download speed was achieved by using 256 QAM, 4×4 multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and three-carrier aggregation technologies. 4×4 MIMO doubles the number of data paths between a cellular base station and mobile phones, delivering a speed boost of up to two times normal speeds.

Singtel said it will progressively rollout 4×4 MIMO technology on its network starting next year to deliver up to 1Gb/s speeds at selected high-traffic locations. Supporting mobile devices are expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO of Singtel’s consumer business in Singapore, said: “Achieving 1Gb/s speeds on our live network marks a significant milestone in our journey to 5G.”