Singapore Awards 5G Spectrum and Aims for Nationwide 5G Coverage by 2025

May 2020

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) recently named Singtel Mobile Singapore Pte Ltd (Singtel) and the Joint-Venture Consortium (JVCo) formed by StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd (StarHub) and M1 Limited (M1) as the winners of its 5G Call for Proposal. Accordingly, Singtel and JVCo will be allocated radio frequency spectrum to provide nationwide 5G coverage. JVCo will deploy and own key parts of the 5G network that will be leased to M1 and StarHub. M1 and Starhub will continue to operate separately and provide retail services to their customers. Other mobile operators in the city state can access these network services through a wholesale arrangement. IMDA will also allocate mmWave spectrum to mobile network operators to deploy localized high-capacity 5G hotspots.

The winners will roll out 5G Standalone networks from January 2021. Singapore plans to have 5G coverage for at least half of the country by the end of 2022 and nationwide coverage by the end of 2025. 5G technology promises surfing speeds 20 times faster than those offered by 4G networks, and the ability to connect 1,000 times as many devices. Consumers can also look forward to innovative applications such as AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) learning and cloud gaming.

To protect against 5G network cyber threats and vulnerability, IMDA has put in place comprehensive security and resilience requirements for the 5G network operators. For example, in partnership with network operators, IMDA will establish a 5G Security Testbed Program for technology exploration.

IMDA and the National Research Foundation earlier set aside SGD 40 million (USD 28 million) to support 5G trials in sectors such as maritime, aviation, smart estates, consumer applications, Industry 4.0 and government applications. On 7 May, IMDA, IBM, M1, and Samsung, today announced Singapore’s first 5G Industry 4.0 trial, with a focus on three main areas:

  • 5G Innovation: The trial aims to design, develop, test, and benchmark 5G-enabled industry 4.0 solutions that can be applied across various industries.
  • 5G Solution Showcase: Solutions developed will be featured at IBM’s Industry 4.0 Studio 5G Solutions Showcase. The showcase will feature Industry 4.0 solutions powered by 5G and leveraging capabilities such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence. The aim is to help generate 5G solutions to different industry sectors in Singapore.
  • 5G Solutions Roll-out: IBM and Samsung will evaluate successful solutions developed during the project for possible use in their operations in a broad range of markets and sectors.

Mr. S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, said: “Amid today’s COVID-19 challenges, the investments in Singapore’s 5G infrastructure underscore long-term business confidence in our economy, and will ready us for the eventual recovery to build a thriving digital future for our people, businesses and industries.”

(Sources: Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore; The Straits Times)

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