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.
With the exclusive agreement, StarHub and M1 will now submit a joint 5G proposal rather than going it alone, the companies said.
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.
The trials will run entirely on 5G, and independent of 4G infrastructure, which the Singapore and Malaysia telcos say make these different from other roaming trials that still tap 5G non-standalone technology.
Government expects to have two full-fledged standalone 5G networks covering more than half of Singapore by end-2022 and, if there is interest from the industry, it will release another two lots of 800MHz of mmWave spectrum to be used for smaller non-standalone networks.
Industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority has set aside S$40 million (US$29.53 million) to support research and development efforts and drive adoption of 5G, which include initiatives focused on key verticals such as urban mobility and maritime.
Mobile data traffic in Southeast Asia and Oceania will climb seven times to 16 exabytes per month by 2024, with growth fuelled by "rapid early momentum and enthusiasm" for 5G, reveals a study by Ericsson, which anticipates the mobile technology will account for 12 percent of subscriptions in the region by then.