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StarHub 3G Network, Singapore

Key Data

Starhub, one of the major players in the Singapore mobile telecoms market, launched their 3G network services at the end of 2004. The network, which is based on W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) 3G core and radio-access network equipment, was implemented under a 2003 contract signed between Starhub and Nokia. The contract was worth an estimated €100 million.

This marked Nokia's first deal in Asia for the delivery of a complete 3G system, although they were also involved with Mobile One in Singapore in a $200 million 3G installation contract at about the same time.

The 3G licences were sold by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) in April 2001 for $100 million each. The three companies that bought the licences were Mobile One (a joint venture of Keppel, Cable and Wireless and Pacific Cyberworks); Singapore Telecom Mobile; and StarHub Mobile (Singapore Technologies, Singapore Power, BT and NTT). A fourth licence was on offer but there were no takers at that time. The terms of the licences required that a 3G network be up and running by December 2004.

In 2004, StarHub increased its mobile customer base by 30% to 1.16 million subscribers.


The 3G core network involved the introduction of an Internet Protocol (IP) solution to enable the support of all voice, data and multimedia services over an end-to-end IP transport network.

As part of the project, triple-mode UltraSite base stations and a GPRS solution were also introduced. A GSM 1800 network, including switching and base stations, was also expanded to support a growing customer base in Singapore.

The 3G core networks will initially use the evolved GSM network, with time-critical voice and video services continuing to use the circuit-switched path through the mobile switching centre (MSC). Non-time-critical services, such as messaging and retrieval services, will use packet-switching through the GPRS network elements.


Ciena Corporation announced in June 2005 that StarHub had deployed its DN 7000 series of multiservice EDGE switches in the service provider's rollout of 3G mobile services, including video calls, video streaming and video Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS).

DN 7200 is being deployed in StarHub's 3G UMTS Radio Access Network (RAN) to aggregate voice and data traffic and transport it from the wireless base stations to the mobile switching centres. This 2G/3G wireless backhaul application allows an easy transition from TDM to packet-based access networks to support the higher data rates and quality-of-service demands of 3G services.

The DN 7200 gives StarHub a high-capacity multi-service platform with 99.9999% system availability, critical for increasing customer usage and the high bandwidth requirements of 3G services. By consolidating multiple leased lines onto a converged, packet architecture based on the DN 7200, StarHub is reducing its operational costs while simultaneously increasing the capacity and reliability of its mobile access network to support a rapid growth in new subscribers and network traffic.

StarHub has deployed the new Channelised STM-1 capabilities of the DN 7000 series to enable an extremely cost-effective solution for aggregating high-density E1 ATM/IMA links in a 3G RAN environment. With excellent IP/MPLS capabilities including PWE3-based ATM, Frame Relay and Ethernet pseudowires, Ethernet service inter-working and ATM/MPLS migration features, the DN 7000 series will ensure that the StarHub access network is well positioned for 3G radio equipment evolution of the 3GPP UMTS standards to Release 5 and 6.

In addition to aggregating the 3G traffic, StarHub is also using the DN 7200 to aggregate multiple wireline services, including broadband DSL traffic and legacy Frame Relay and ATM data services. Multiple service networks can be collapsed onto a compact platform to reduce operational costs including 3G backhaul costs and simplify network management while maintaining the reliability and quality of service customers expect.

StarHub is managing its 3G backhaul through Ciena's ON-Centre DN 7000 Manager to assure the most rapid service provisioning and monitoring of new 3G mobile switching centres.


The UltraSite is a triple-mode site that seeks to accommodate the increasing demand for the higher voice and data traffic in the networks supporting HSCSD, GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA. Operators are able to choose the technology that they need, whether they want to offer GSM-, EDGE- and/or WCDMA-based services.

The triple-mode includes a high-capacity base station housing GSM/EDGE transceivers or WCDMA carriers, or a mix of them, which are expandable through cabinet chaining.