Singapore plans to roll out four commercial 5G networks in 2020, and by the end of 2022, expects to have at least 50% of the city-state covered with a standalone network, according to the country’s telecommunication regulator, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Singapore’s push to establish a standalone network quickly after the initial 5G launch is motivated by the country’s focus on 5G for the enterprise space and the fact that a standalone 5G network, built with infrastructure designed using 5G-specific technology, is thought to more efficient than a non-standalone 5G network because it doesn’t require the support of a 4G LTE network to perform certain functions.
Originally, IMDA planned for only two standalone 5G networks with nationwide coverage. Now, however, the agency believes Singapore can accommodate two more localized 5G networks in addition to two nationwide ones.
Rather than hold a spectrum auction, IMDA has called upon the country’s top operators to submit proposals for the 5G spectrum in a process called a Call for Proposal. The regulatory agency will assess each operator’s financial capability, network security design and ability to achieve the 50% coverage goal by the end of 2022.
Two operators will be provided the most efficient spectrum available to deploy standalone 5G networks with wide-area coverage. IMDA stated that each lot of spectrum will cost at least 55 million Singapore dollars ($40.18 million).
The remaining two operators will receive relatively less efficient spectrum bandwidth to deliver localized 5G services based on existing infrastructure.
At the second annual SG: Digital Industry Day, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran discussed the reason behind allocating spectrum in this way: “IMDA expects the greater competition to benefit consumers and businesses and bring about greater choice, more competitive prices and service innovation,” he said.
“Singapore’s 5G ecosystem will be the backbone of our digital economy,” he added.
The spectrum licenses are expected to be given out by the middle of 2020.
―RCR Wireless News