Singapore – Paving the way for nationwide deployment of 4G

Paving the way for nationwide deployment of 4G  July 18, 2013

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Use of 4G in a busThe allocation of 4G spectrum is expected to drive innovation in high-capacity mobile services.

Singapore has taken another major step towards the nationwide deployment of fourth generation (4G) telecommunication services with the provisional allocation of spectrum for 4G systems and services to M1 Limited, SingTel Mobile Singapore Pte Ltd and StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd.

A total of 270 MHz of spectrum in the 1800 MHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum bands was made available for allocation through an auction. Three bidders submitted initial offers for spectrum, at the reserve prices set by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), for the provision of 4G services until 2030.

As the total amount of spectrum demanded in the initial offers did not exceed the amount of spectrum available in either spectrum band, IDA announced on 28 June that it has provisionally allocated the respective quantities of spectrum to each bidder at the reserve price. M1 obtained 80 MHz of spectrum at a total price of S$104 million, SingTel Mobile obtained 100 MHz of spectrum at a total price of S$136 million and StarHub Mobile obtained 90 MHz of spectrum at a total price of S$120 million.

Mr Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms and Post), IDA, said, “The successful allocation of spectrum in the auction will give operators more long-term certainty on their spectrum holdings as they continue to deploy 4G services. This will enable the industry to better meet the demands of growing mobile traffic, and ensure that consumers can reap the benefits of quality 4G mobile services well into the future.”

4G is a cellular mobile communications system which is capable of evolving to achieve data rates of 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, depending on whether the mobile devices are fairly stationary or in rapid motion, for example, in trains, buses or cars. The spectrum allocation is expected to drive innovation in high capacity mobile services and bring about a better user experience and service quality compared with existing 3G services.

The next stage of the 4G auction, the Assignment Stage, will determine the placement of the spectrum acquired by bidders within the respective spectrum bands. After the Assignment Stage closes, winning bidders will be provisionally awarded the spectrum rights in respect of the spectrum that they have been allocated.

Singapore’s preparation for the allocation of 4G spectrum had begun a few years earlier. In 2011, IDA issued an Interim Decision which allowed operators to begin deploying 4G systems and services using their existing spectrum rights.

Going forward, the new spectrum rights will commence on 1 July 2015 for spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band and 1 April 2017 for spectrum in the 1800 MHz band, upon expiration of the existing spectrum rights. Operators may continue to provide mobile services (including 4G) over the existing spectrum rights prior to their expiry.

Winning bidders will be required to provide nationwide street-level coverage for 4G by 30 June 2016, and coverage for MRT underground stations/lines and road tunnels by 30 June 2018.

Sectors: Communications, Mobile, and Technology
Countries: Singapore
Topics: Business Development and Market Research
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