SingTel Mobile has launched a high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) service in selected areas of the island state, joining rival cellco MobileOne Asia (M1) which introduced commercial HSDPA services six months ago. At launch, SingTel Mobile’s 3.5G service will offer users maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. The operator introduced a commercial trial in November 2006 covering the area from Dhoby Ghaut MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) to Orchard MRT and taking in selected buildings including Takashimaya and Plaza Singapura – known locally as the Orchard Road shopping belt. SingTel has now upped its 3.5G coverage to include the Central Business District (CBD) and plans to expand the network to the northern part of Singapore in June. The operator has launched the service with three price plans, namely a 512kbps, 1.8Mbps and 3.6Mbps package priced at SGD31.50 (USD20.65), SGD47.25 and SGD78.75, respectively. The service includes 10GB worth of downloads with additional usage charged at SGD1.75 per 1MB.
SingTel Mobile has around 466,000 subscribers signed up to 3G services and intends to entice a sizeable portion onto HSDPA within the next three months, it said. M1 had roughly 390,000 3G users as at 31 March 2007 and is looking to encourage HSDPA take-up by increasing maximum download speeds from the current 3.6Mbps (in the CBD – 1.8Mbps elsewhere) to 14.4Mbps by end-2007. Singapore’s third mobile operator StarHub plans to launch 3.5G services ‘this year’ although it has not produced a timetable for rollout.