Nokia Siemens upgrades M1’s 3.5G network

NOKIA Siemens Networks has enhanced M1’s high speed packet access (HSPA) network, allowing three times higher access speeds.

HSPA, also known as 3.5G, is a souped-up 3G network. While 3G offers connection speeds in the region of 384 kilobits per second, the HSPA service that M1 launched last year offers 3.6 megabits per second (Mbps) connection speed.

According to Alex Tan, Singapore country head for Nokia Siemens Networks, the enhancements allow M1’s HSPA network to increase its data speeds per site from the current 3.6 Mbps to 10.8 Mbps per site, resulting in a three-fold downlink capacity increase in the network. ‘This will ensure high speed connections even in high load conditions, as the number of HSPA users increases in the network. This will enhance end user experience in one of the most advanced and demanding mobile communications markets globally,’ Mr Tan said.

However, an M1 spokesman told BizIT that the enhanced speeds will not be available to customers immediately. ‘The announcement (by Nokia Siemens) relates to the completion of the latest phase of the software upgrade programme that they have undertaken to enhance the speed capability of the M1 HSDPA network,’ the spokesman noted.

He added that M1’s plan to offer higher downlink speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps to broadband customers remains as previously announced, which is towards the end of this year. HSPA enhances mobile broadband with two key technologies, HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) and HSUPA (high speed uplink packet access) enabling data speeds of up to 42 Mbps in the downlink, and up to 11 Mbps in the uplink in the future.

M1, which was the first Singapore telco to offer the HSPA service to its customers, uses the enhanced bandwidth to offer broadband connectivity.

In another development, M1, along with mobile media content provider Affle, has announced the successful completion of trials with Affle’s SMS2.0, a next-generation messaging application that is set to enhance the text messaging experience for M1 customers. The SMS2.0 platform brings together messaging, content and advertising into a single, seamless application. This service is expected to be commercially available to M1 customers by the fourth quarter of this year.

Through media and content partners, the platform also enables the free linking and delivery of news headlines, movie trailers and exclusive promotions direct to the mobile device. Affle’s Singapore-based research and development team collaborated with M1 to roll out trials to some 2,000 users, with positive results.

‘The trial demonstrated the potential for SMS2.0 to be a catalyst in changing consumer behaviour on the mobile screen by encouraging a level of interaction that is not currently possible using conventional SMS. Unlike traditional mobile marketing, users are more likely to explore onscreen content and advertisements delivered via this interactive platform,’ Anuj Khanna, founder and CEO of Affle, said.

Commenting on the trial, M1’s CEO Neil Montefiore, said: ‘With the popularity and pervasive use of messaging, SMS2.0 offers advertisers a direct, inclusive and cost-effective channel to reach out to their desired consumer segments. For the willing mobile user who has to opt in for this service, it opens up a world of useful and relevant promotional offers and content.’