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IMDA: 5G mobile data networks on track for 2020 deployment

By Liu Hongzuo - on 17 Jan 2017, 7:03pm

IMDA: 5G mobile data networks on track for 2020 deployment

5G networks in Singapore by 2020 isn’t just a goal, but an important step forward to sustain the growing portfolio of IoT products, alongside existing industries (such as utilities, retail, transport, and healthcare) that will benefit with more use cases and new business models.

That was the takeaway point for 5G-network capabilities within Singapore, as heard at the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Forum 2017 on 17th January 2017. The plans forward were shared by Ms. Aileen Chia, Director-General (Telecoms & Post) of Infocomm Media Development Authority (‎IMDA), alongside 5G network partners such as Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE. The forum was hosted by one of our local telcos, Singtel.

The increased need for mobile data goes beyond prophetic projection, with Singapore’s mobile data usage increasing 50-fold (from 0.2 to 10.2-petabytes) between 2008 and 2016, according to In preparation, local telecommunication authorities have begun assessing Singapore’s 5G network compatibility, before the spectrum band decisions are finalized at World Radiocommunication Conference 2019.

“Based on the timelines released by these organizations, it is expected that the first phase of 5G technical standards will be completed in June 2018, and be further refined for subsequent release in 2020." - Ms. Chia.

The IMDA, Singapore’s governing body and research nexus for telecommunications infrastructure and policies, will be seeking public feedback and consultation to better prepare for 5G network expectations set by affected industries and businesses. The responses will help shape the regulatory framework for upcoming 5G networks in Singapore.

“These disruptive technology trends and market developments are expected to drive significant transformation in enterprises over the next three to five years, shaping enterprise business strategies. It will also influence consumers’ consumption preferences and change the way communities interact and connect, and impacts the larger social fabric. As technology is never purely good or bad, it opens up both opportunities and challenges to the Infocomm sector, economy and society." - Ms. Chia.

Closer to home, 5G networks are materializing steadily through trials and experimental hardware. The most recent development would be the 450Mbps top-speed upgrades done by Singtel last week, and a late-2016 trial by StarHub that saw mobile data speeds of up to 4.3Gbps. Late 2016 also saw the introduction of the Qualcomm X50, their first 5G-capable modem for mobile devices.

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