Microsoft to support 5G development efforts in Singapore

Under an agreement with Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority, the US software vendor will offer 5G technical consultancy and work with local government agencies and businesses to jointly create 5G use cases.

Microsoft has signed a Memorandum of Intent with Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to provide a "development environment" to facilitate the creation of 5G applications, services, and capabilities. Together, the two organisations will provide technical consultancy and offer best practices on 5G standards, interoperability, and design principles.

The development hub is available to participating government agencies, enterprises, and technology companies in Singapore, where these organisations would be able to receive guidance and support to build up proof-of-concept 5G applications on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform. 

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The partnership with Microsoft was a part of IMDA's efforts to drive the development and adoption of 5G applications, where the Singapore government agency in June said it was setting aside SG$40 million to build up the supporting ecosystem. These included the development of testbeds that government and private organisations could tap to run their 5G use cases, such as IMDA's PIXEL--scheduled to launch in the first half of next year--which would serve as a 5G lab for technology and media startups.

When operational, PIXEL would be able to collaborate with the Microsoft Technology Center to further drive the development of 5G use cases, the two organisations said in a joint statement released Tuesday. The center is housed at Microsoft's new Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

IMDA and the US software vendor also would explore opportunities in verticals such as smart estates, urban mobility, Industry 4.0, and maritime operations, which Singapore had earmarked as potential 5G use cases that could be championed globally

IMDA's chief executive Tan Kiat How said the agency would be looking to establish more partnerships including with research institutions to drive 5G development in the island-state. 

Microsoft's Singapore managing director Kevin Wo said: "The ability to harness the high speed, high capacity, and low latency of 5G technology will open up new possibilities and a proliferation of innovative cloud-based applications across various industries. And when we infuse data, artificial intelligence, and mixed reality into the cloud and power it with 5G, what you get is an intelligent cloud and intelligent edge which presents tremendous potential for the industry to come together to nurture a local ecosystem to help transform enterprises."

Singapore is expected to have two full-fledged standalone 5G networks covering more than half the island by end-2022, with deployments to commence next year. Two additional licences also will be available to enable telcos to run localised 5G services on existing 4G networks.

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