Singtel and Ericsson have partnered to open the first 5G Center of Excellence in Singapore. The two companies have promised a total $1.47 million USD to establish the Center.

The Center will be used to train 100 Singtel engineers in 5G skills including the design, maintenance and operation of 5G networks. It is intended to have a four-part focus: upskilling, demos, live field trials, and collaboration with other organizations. In this way, Singtel and Ericsson will work together to not only train the current workforce for upcoming 5G challenges but also to accelerate innovation and adoption of 5G technology as a part of the Singapore Smart Nation program.

The 5G facility will be available to Singtel subsidiaries across APAC and Africa, to encourage information sharing throughout the company, and prepare for global 5G, the mobile network standard expected to roll out worldwide in 2020.

The Center is expected to open later this year, with Ericsson training and providing workshops to train Singtel engineers in the new technology. Singtel will provide demos of 5G technologies and applications at their headquarters. Together, Singtel and Ericsson will create a mobile 5G test bed to conduct live 5G trials in conjunction with enterprise customers and research partners.

Ericsson’s President for Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines, Martin Wiktorin, noted that the establishment of the Center of Excellence is in line with Singapore’s Smart City initiative, and the drive by the government to encourage 5G trials in preparation for the eventual global adoption of the technology. “Together with Singtel,” he said, “we plan to set up a 5G test bed in 2018 for trials with key enterprise customers, with the objective of enabling a strong foundation to help design Singapore’s 5G future.”

Singtel and Ericsson first partnered in 2015 for the purpose of studying 5G technology and researching applicable innovations. At the time, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to study the future of 5G and exchange ideas regarding potential applications of new technologies.

Ericsson has long been a driver of 5G adoption and technological innovation. In January of this year, the company announced a series of 5G NR trials; and in December 2016 launched a service called Accelerated Network Build, claiming that this could cut network build time by up to 50%.