SingTel has announced plans to shut down its 2G mobile network within the next two-to-three years in order to amalgamate its infrastructure and free up the spectrum for re-use. Speaking at the LTE Asia conference, Kuan Moon Yeun, CEO for SingTel’s Singapore unit, says the advantage of 4G is that operators can run networks more efficiently and ‘move everyone up the curve’, therefore consolidation will mean the provider does not ‘have to operate multiple networks.’
Further emphasising the importance of an efficient network, Yeun continued to explain the desire to ‘move everybody over to 4G and VoLTE [Voice over Long Term Evolution]’ – the benefit of this being 4G can then be supported by one network, rather than having to support 3G voice (via Circuit Switch Fallback). As reported by Mobile World Live, the SingTel CEO declared: ‘Once you give [customers] speed, they want more,’ adding that 4G users consume ‘twice as much’ data as 3G users. Figures in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database reveal the provider’s 4G (LTE) subscribers increased to 1.278 million at end-June 2014, more than double the 537,000 LTE users reported twelve months before, and accounted for 31.8% of SingTel’s total mobile base (up from 14.0% a year earlier). The telco held 48.3% of the country’s total wireless market share at the same date.