SUTD holds 5G Wireless Access Network Summit to promote the development of local communication technology

24 Aug 2023

Lianhe Zaobao, 24 Aug 2023, 新科大举办5G无线接入网络峰会 促进本地通信科技发展

To promote the development of local 5G and 6G networks, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has invested S$70 million from 2021, which includes helping the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to establish an open testing and integration center (OTIC).
SUTD held the first OTIC Global Summit on Wednesday (August 23), inviting experts and industry players from various countries to exchange the latest achievements in 5G technology and discuss the feasibility of large-scale promotion and commercialisation of Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN).
Ong Chen Hui, Assistant Chief Executive of the Business Technology Group of IMDA, said at the summit that as early as 2017, the authorities had begun to lay out and build infrastructure for 5G communication technology. Today, the local outdoor 5G network coverage of the entire island has reached 95%, which is ahead of schedule. This goal was originally set to be achieved by 2025.
Open test platform enables 5G technology to reach more industries
Ong Chen Hui remarked: "Since 2021, the government had invested S$70 million to provide support for enterprises that conduct cutting-edge 5G commercial case experiments, and is also committed to developing an open test platform."
Talking about the role of the open test platform, Ong Chen Hui said: "Some small and medium-sized enterprises may not need a lot of funding urgently, but they must have the space and opportunities for experimentation and innovation. This enables the widespread use of 5G technology, allowing it to reach more industries."
Talking about the difference between O-RAN and the traditional closed 5G network, Tony Quek, Head of Information Systems Technology and Design at SUTD, said: "In a closed network, we can only rely on a single vendor, and the development of new technologies is relatively slow; after joining the O-Ran, we can attract multiple Vendors to come to Singapore and collaborate, with everyone following a unified interface standard, and realising interoperability, breaking the monopoly of a single equipment Vendor."
The global OTIC Summit held by SUTD focused on open wireless access networks, and invited O-RAN experts from the United States, South Korea, Japan and other countries to share their experience in developing and testing wireless access networks, including the achievements of O-RAN laboratories in various places, difficulties encountered, optimisation and adjustments made, etc.
The core principles of O-RAN are intelligence and openness 
Participant Alex Choi, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, pointed out that the core principles of O-RAN are intelligence and openness. "It is designed to drive the mobile communications industry towards an innovative, multi-vendor, interconnected ecosystem, while reducing costs and improving performance and flexibility."
Against the backdrop of tense geopolitical situations, closed 5G networks in various countries will inevitably choose to focus on their own development, but Tony Quek said that the establishment of an OTIC locally is to provide a testing platform for manufacturers from different countries and lower the barriers for them to enter the Singapore market, allowing our country to gain a first-mover advantage in this field, and then provide advanced technology to other countries in Southeast Asia.
The OTIC is expected to open for different manufacturers to conduct testing at SUTD in the first quarter of next year.