Bids have been submitted by all four mobile operators Singapore for 5G licences in the country. Two of them made a joint submission. The chosen operators will be awarded spectrum by mid-2020.
On Monday (17 Feb), industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) stated that it received three bids at the close 5G Call for Proposal, two of which came from TPG Telecom and Singtel Mobile with one bid each respectively. A joint bid for a license was submitted by StarHub and M1 based on the agreement both had signed beforehand last month.
The received bids will be assessed based on a host of criteria such as spectrum offer price, network security design and resilience and network performance and rollout. For one 100MHz lot, the base price has been finalised at S$55 million.
The country will begin deploying the networks this year, and it is expected to have two full-fledged standalone 5G networks encompassing more than half the island by the end of 2022. By 2025, full island coverage will be realised. Also, wholesale services to other operators will have to be offered by operators of the two nationwide networks, including mobile virtual network operators like Circles.Life.
Once awarded, the 3.5GHz spectrum band as standalone 5G networks will have to be deployed by the two mobile network operators to support capabilities like ultra-reliable low latency communications and network slicing. These networks will aid in the development of new applications including autonomous vehicles, smart factories and massive Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
According to IMDA, if there was interest from the industry, two additional licenses would be made available. With these licenses, telcos will be able to run localised 5G services on existing 4G networks. On top of this, two 800MHz lots of mmWave spectrum would also be released to the remaining mobile operators, IMDA said. This will give them the option to deploy the spectrum to provide localised 5G services operating on their existing 4G networks. These smaller networks would offer mainly higher broadband speeds compared to the full-fledged standalone 5G networks.
The three use cases including two enterprise initiatives will receive support from IMDA, it remarked, and this will promote the development of the local 5G ecosystem. Such an ecosystem is the 5G trial site at Singapore Science Park whose aim is to function as a hotbed for smart mobility services in a commercial space, as well as to test and develop cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technologies.