StarHub and M1 to submit joint bid for 5G licence

Telcos have until mid-February to put in a proposal for the two available licences.

Singaporean telcos StarHub and M1 have signed an exclusive agreement to submit a joint bid for a 5G licence.

Industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced in October that two 5G licences were up for grabs that would enable telcos to run localised 5G services on existing 4G networks. The licences will provide the chosen telcos with 3.5GHz spectrum, thereby allowing them to build full-fledged standalone 5G networks.

At the time, IMDA asked all four mobile operators -- M1, StarHub, Singtel, and TPG Telecom -- to submit their proposals for the two spectrum packages put up for bidding. 

With the exclusive agreement, StarHub and M1 will now submit a joint 5G proposal rather than going it alone, the companies said.

See also: StarHub, Nanyang Polytechnic launch 5G test facility

Telcos that are awarded with a licence will be required to deploy the 3.5GHz spectrum band as standalone 5G networks, supporting capabilities such as network slicing and ultra-reliable low latency communications.

For the telcos that miss out on the two 5G licences, the Singapore government said it will still provide two lots of 800MHz mmWave spectrum which it said could be used to offer localised 5G services running on their existing 4G networks. Unlike the full-fledged standalone 5G networks however, these smaller networks would offer primarily higher broadband speeds. 

The deadline for submitting 5G proposals to IMDA is February 17. The original cut-off date was January 21, but IMDA decided to allow telcos to have more time to submit their proposals.

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