In its second year, the UNWIRED 2011 is independent mobile and wireless conference held in Singapore. This year's discussion include the rollout and impact of LTE/4G, tablets and future mobile cloud apps on the portable screen as well as the mobile OS of the next year. VR-Zone attended the first session of the wireless conference last Thursday.
Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, said that the wireless industry in Singapore has seen rapid growth over the last couple of years with the mobile phone transforming from an accessory to a lifestyle necessity.
"As of March 2011, Singapore's mobile phone penetration rate 145.5 percent compared to 102.8 percent five years ago. This is an annual compound growth rate of 7 percent. We know that 3G networks have been rolled out on all our mobile operators in 2005 and we have an estimated 17,000 public Wi-Fi and free hotspots in high human traffic areas in Singapore. Mobile broadband plans have become more attractive and affordable with high serving speeds at low cost," said Khoong.
Chan Kin Hung, head of products and solutions, StarHub; Chan Yim Leng, vice-president for consumer products, SingTel; Raymond Tan, former CEO, Berca Global Access; Remus Tan, director of mobile networks, Tellabs; and Mike Ang from ATIS (moderator for the discussion) were there to talk about LTE and 4G in Singapore.
"Every generation of network has a major shift in the way services are being offered. If you remembered 2G, everyone is talking initially about basic service, which is voice and short message service (SMS). And when it evolved to 2.5G, we have GPRS, EDGE and we started to have a little bit of data services. Then 3G came about and fundamental change in 3G is video telephony, and when 3G moved to 3.5G, we are talking about mobile broadband. When it comes to 4G, there will be a significant shift in the way services are offered. For example, right now while we are in 3G, we are still walking about basic voice. But when we go to 4G, the voice services that are going to be offered will be more interactive; there will be more characters and there will be a significant change in terms of how people interact with each other using voice services. On the data part, we will see much more capacity that will be offered to individual subscribers in Long Term Evolution (LTE)," said Remus Tan.
On the question about the lack of multimedia content available, Chan Yim Leng said that the content is not generated by local operators and not generated just for local authorities or players even though there are content rolled out from Mediacorp; there are lots of content video related – YouTube etc. On top of that, there are other applications including high definition gaming and video conferencing, which take up a lot of bandwidth.
"If the operators are not forward-looking and not willing to invest, not only will the customers in the country will suffer, the country will not be ahead than others. Which is why we believe that LTE should really be supported. The decision to allocate this bandwidth should be made earlier than later," Chan said.