Telecommunication companies in Singapore are investing into new in-building technologies that are expected to boost the speed of 4G surfing indoors.  The new 4G base stations – small cells, are smaller than traditional base stations thus making it easier to install without needing to add cables.
4G small cells looks like a refrigerator and can be mounted on the ceiling to save space. Small cells can be installed in two to three days, shorter installation period as compared to the three to four weeks installation of the traditional base station.
M1, StarHub and Singtel already started rolling out 4G small cells last January 2015 to speed up network capacity by doubling up the speed of surfing in some buildings. Last month, M1 installed three small cells at the Basement One level of Paragon mall and it enabled around 100Mbps for its customers.
“We need to bring up surfing speeds indoor to the same level as outdoor as people tend to congregate in foodcourts and cafes, resulting in high demand for mobile data there,” said M1 chief operating officer Patrick Scodeller.
For the next two years, Mr. Patrick Scodeller said that they also plan to install 4G speed boosts at busy buildings and centres like nex, Clemmenti Mall, Orchard Road, Raffles Place and Jurong East. This investment is part of their yearly network upgrades.
On the other hand, StarHub installed small cells  at Marina Bay sands boosting typical 4G speeds to 230Mbps. They are targeting to include high-traffic commercial building and malls like VivoCity, nex, Ion Orchard and Tampines 1 by the end of next year.
“The range of radio transmission is often limited indoors, thus data speeds are lower than outdoors,” said StarHub chief technology officer Mock Pak Lum.
Meanwhile, Singtel already installed additional 4G capacity at The Seletar mall, VivoCity and Marina Bay Sands’ food court area. They aim to continue rolling out small cells in high-traffic locations including nex.
Clement Teo, senior analyst of US-based market research firm Forrester said that telcos are investing to boost 4G surfing speeds indoors as there are commercial incentives to it for instance better video streaming. He added “The more mobile data users download, the more they pay.” 4G small cell technologies have also upgraded that convinced the telcos to make the investment.
With telcos investment to small cells, consumers can expect lesser network congestion when surfing indoors. This will make internet surfing faster just like what we experience outdoors. We can now continue video streaming or call even on basements or inside the building. This will let us to do more in the virtual world.
As we experience faster internet connectivity indoors, it will also help us promote mobile learning. At ACP, we believe that learning is not only limited to classroom-based learning, but rather it should be accessible everywhere. Through Learning Management System and different online courses that we have, students and members of your organisation will be able to acquire and share knowledge anytime and anywhere. With the faster connection, they will be able to access these learning platforms at the most convenient time and place they want. This will allow them to experience better mobile learning. Know more about our LMS and online courses here.