Singtel claims first RedCap trial in Singapore

The telco said that the trial took place across five different Singtel 5G Standalone (SA) locations

Singaporean operator Singtel announced that it has successfully completed what it claims to be the country’s first trial of 5G New Radio Reduced Capability (RedCap) technology.

In a release, the Asian telco said that the trial was conducted on its live 5G network in collaboration with Ericsson and MediaTek.

RedCap, sometimes referred to as NR Light, is a reduced set of 5G capabilities intended for devices like wearables and low-cost hotspots that have low battery consumption, lower costs and lower bandwidth requirements. Introduced with 3GPP Release 17, 5G RedCap is designed for devices currently served by LTE CAT-4 but provides equivalent or better in performance with up to 150 Mbps theoretical maximum downlink throughput. This technology helps reduce the complexity, cost and size of 5G devices.

According to MediaTek’s 5G RedCap modem report, RedCap is estimated to reduce power consumption for end users and chipset printed circuit board (PCB) area by 60% compared to existing 4G IoT devices. Further research by Ericsson also showed that RedCap is expected to lower IoT device production costs for manufacturers by 50% to 70%.

“With RedCap technology, the complexity, size and capabilities of device platforms are considerably reduced, enabling cost-efficient integration into IoT devices. This unlocks opportunities for a multitude of devices to be connected to the 5G network, contributing to the expansion of the 5G ecosystem and supporting new designs for more scalable IoT innovations and applications,” said Tay Yeow Lian, managing director of networks at Singtel Singapore.

The telco said that the month-long trial took place across five different Singtel 5G Standalone (SA) locations, utilizing Ericsson’s RedCap solution and MediaTek’s RedCap testing device.

According to estimates from the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore, the IoT market in Singapore experienced a 20% compound annual growth rate, reaching $1.1 billion in 2022. This growth was driven by smart nation initiatives and Industry 4.0 efforts, particularly in the manufacturing and logistics sector. RedCap technology plays a crucial role in facilitating the transition of IoT devices from Long-Term Evolution (LTE) to New Radio (NR), providing significantly better connectivity and more reliable user experiences which aid the development of more innovative use cases, Singtel said. Additionally, the migration to NR opens up opportunities for 5G capabilities like network slicing and mobile edge computing (MEC). This allows network operators to provide differentiated services tailored to specific use cases such as industrial automation, the Asian carrier added.

Raymond Soh, head of network solutions for Ericsson Singapore and Philippines, said: “Ericsson RedCap will open up a new world of possibilities for communication service providers, allowing for the introduction of services beyond enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) on 5G standalone architecture, broadening the ecosystem and offering new monetisation opportunities in both the consumer and industrial spaces.”

Miles Sun, general manager of corporate sales of Asia and Africa at MediaTek, said: “Our collaborative efforts with Singtel and Ericsson have enabled us to empower IoT platforms with a state-of-the-art 5G RedCap modem, creating new exciting opportunities for the ecosystem of operators and device makers.”

To date, Singtel’s 5G Standalone coverage spans over 1,600 outdoor locations and 800 buildings, including underground train lines.

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