28 November 2019
On 17 October 2019, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) launched a Call for Proposal (“CFP”) to facilitate the roll out of 5G mobile networks by 2020, with full-fledged 5G standalone capability covering at least half of Singapore by the end of 2022. The CFP will run from 17 October 2019 until 21 January 2020. Awarding of the spectrum is expected to take place by mid-2020.
IMDA sets out Singapore’s approach to the rolling out of 5G mobile networks as follows:
- Infrastructure readiness: Singapore will be among the first wave of countries in the world to roll out standalone 5G networks. As a small and open country, it is well positioned to leverage the benefits of its size and strong connectivity infrastructure to commence the roll out of 5G mobile networks by 2020, with full-fledged 5G standalone capability covering at least half of Singapore by end-2022;
- Holistic regulatory approach: Singapore’s regulatory framework aims to facilitate 5G deployments that are timely, secure and fit-for-purpose. In this regard, IMDA will award spectrum to operators who can deliver the desired outcomes and the best value for the Singapore economy;
- Public-private collaboration for 5G use cases: The government plays a crucial role in accelerating 5G innovation and research in Singapore’s digital economy. IMDA will continue to support 5G trials in various sectors, such as maritime, urban mobility and smart estates, and co-invest with the industry to develop new 5G use cases for enterprises and consumers.
Only standalone 5G networks have the capacity to support and deliver full-fledged 5G capabilities, such as network slicing, ultra-reliable low latency communications, and massive machine-type communications, which are crucial for the development of innovative new applications, including smart factories, massive Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices and autonomous vehicles. This is unlike non-standalone 5G networks that leverage existing 4G networks, and thus only offer higher speeds. With standalone 5G networks, enterprises and consumers can look forward to:
- An increase in peak data rates of up to 20 Gbps;
- More reliable mobile broadband, with a drastically improved response time, possibly as low as 1 millisecond; and
- More connections for devices, up to one million devices per square km, enabling the IoT.
Call for proposal
Following the conclusion of two public consultation exercises, IMDA will facilitate the deployment of two nationwide, standalone 5G networks. All four existing Mobile Network Operators (“MNOs”) will be invited to participate in the CFP process. IMDA expects to award the spectrum by mid-2020 with the roll out of 5G mobile networks by 2020. IMDA anticipates the establishment of standalone networks offering full-fledged 5G capabilities to cover at least half of Singapore by the end of 2022.
Additionally, up to two lots (800 MHz each) of mmWave spectrum will be assigned to remaining MNOs if there is interest, with the flexibility to deploy 5G on a non-standalone basis, as a start.
This is one of several initiatives announced to boost Singapore’s digital economy and reinforce Singapore’s position as a global business and connectivity hub. IMDA’s media release includes Annexes featuring related initiatives.