Singapore to hold first 4G auction in mid-2013

ICT regulator IDA to put up for bidding 27 blocks of airwaves for total reserve price of S$360 million, giving telcos more spectrum to offer faster services.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

Singapore is set to have its first 4G spectrum auction in mid-2013, where 27 blocks of airwaves in the 1800 MHz and 2.5 GHz band, will be put up for bidding at a total reserve price of S$360 million (US$294 million).

In a statement Wednesday, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore said increasing the spectrum available for 4G would allow telcos to provide more innovative services due to faster data transfer rates than existing 3G neworks.

"While commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services are already available, its use is still at a nascent stage.  The auction of spectrum for 4G services will pave the way for nationwide deployment of 4G and for consumers to enjoy higher speeds in accessing mobile services across Singapore," said Leong Keng Thai, deputy CEO and director-general of telecoms and post at IDA, in a press release.

Singapore 4G coverage requirements
Requirements for Singapore 4G auction winners (source: IDA)

IDA pointed out the new spectrum rights would replace the current ones used by telcos due to expire in 2015. Those were issued in 2011 in an interim decision to allow telcos to deploy 4G systems and services with their existing rights. Since then, all three mobile operators--M1, SingTel and StarHub--have introduced LTE services, with planned nationwide deployment by 2013.

The regulator added it would also set aside 40 MHz of the spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band for any new mobile operator that wished to enter the market. However, it would include this "set-aside" amount in the main auction if there is no new entrant.

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