Singapore tops up 5G fund to drive product commercialisation

Another SG$30 million ($22.57 million) has been added to a fund dedicated to fuelling the development and adoption of 5G products and services in the country, with financial help provided to more companies, including small and medium-sized businesses.

Singapore is setting aside another SG$30 million ($22.57 million) to fuel the development and adoption of 5G products and services in the country. The government grant aims to facilitate efforts to commercialise service offerings and offer financial help to more local companies, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). 

The latest fund injection is part of the Infocomm Media Development Authority's (IMDA) 5G Innovation Programme and earmarked to support development efforts that "address sector challenges or enterprise-level needs", the industry regulator said in a statement Wednesday. 

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Under the 5G government grant, applicants must indicate a "significant value and impact" to businesses and the local industry as well as include operationalisation and commercialisation plans of the 5G products. Developers of such offerings are encouraged to focus on key technology areas encompassing robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented/virtual reality. 

Approved projects will receive up to 70% of qualifying costs from the IMDA fund. 

IMDA in June 2019 announced various initiatives in a bid to spur innovation and adoption of 5G in Singapore, which included a SG$40 million ($30.09 million) pot to build up the supporting ecosystem. They also comprised of efforts on six key verticals, such as smart estates, urban mobility, and maritime, which were tagged for their potential to showcase 5G use cases that could be championed globally. 

These efforts have paved the way for various trials involving local telcos, including a pilot that saw M1 and Singtel tapping into 5G to test automated guided vehicles and automated rubber-tyred gantry cranes at Pasir Panjang Terminal. 

IMDA said a new pilot with M1, Continental Automotive Singapore, and JTC would see the deployment of autonomous mobile robots and construction safety analytics using 5G. These trials would be carried out at Jurong Innovation District and aimed to enhance operations and drive innovation for Singapore's logistics and construction sectors, IMDA said.

The regulator's chief executive Lew Chuen Hong said: "5G is a key enabler for Singapore's digital future...demonstrating good results such as through more efficient and reliable port operations, and good progress on the ongoing trials. The next phase of our 5G strategy will see us build on this momentum to spur innovation and accelerate the adoption and commercialisation of 5G solutions with the new SG$30 million fund."

Singapore issued two nationwide 5G licences, finalised last June after telcos Singtel and joint licensees StarHub and M1 completed the required regulatory processes. Nationwide 5G standalone networks are expected to be up and running by 2025.

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