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IMDA proposes making new 5G spectrum available to all mobile network operators

By Ken Wong - on 27 Jul 2021, 2:26pm

IMDA proposes making new 5G spectrum available to all mobile network operators

More spectrum could be auctioned off for operators at the end of the year. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

The 2.1GHz spectrum currently being used for 3G services in Singapore could be sold to mobile network operators (MNOs) at the end of the year to boost 5G services and coverage in Singapore. This isn’t new as Germany, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom are among the countries where the 2.1GHz spectrum has been used for 5G deployment.

In a call for consultation, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is seeking views on using the 2.1 GHz spectrum band to support the nationwide deployment of 5G Standalone (SA) networks while setting aside some 2.1 GHz spectrum for the continued provision of 3G services in Singapore, for consumers who choose to continue to use these services.

According to the IMDA, the proposed price is S$10 to S$15 million for each of the 12 paired lots, with no more than five lots going to a single MNO.

Local network operators Singtel and StarHub, who won their 5G spectrum in the first bidding exercise have been rolling out their 5G standalone (SA) networks with M1 being the most recent to do so. TPG who failed to win any 5G spectrum in the first auction exercise could benefit greatly from this new spectrum deal.

The slew of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Singapore like Circles.Life, Gorilla Mobile, Grid Mobile etc, won’t be able to bid for these as they are not MNOs and only buy network from the MNOs.

According to mobile analytics company Opensignal, since 5G was launched in Singapore, local 5G users consume 16.6 GB/month at 5G Download Speed (143.5 Mbps), Peak Download Speed (579.1 Mbps) and Upload Speed (21.2 Mbps). In terms of the 5G Experience, Singapore achieved the top 5 positions and above in Video Experience (80.5), Games Experience (87.2) and Voice App Experience (83.1), scoring higher than Japan in all three categories, despite Japan having a head start on 5G rollout.

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