Singapore’s vision is to be a global front-runner for innovation in 5G applications and service, supported by a thriving 5G ecosystem as well as a secure and resilient 5G infrastructure. The nation is on track to commence the roll out of 5G mobile networks by 2020, with full-fledged 5G standalone capability covering at least half of Singapore by end-2022.

5G will form the backbone of Singapore’s future Digital Economy. By unlocking its full potential, Singapore can catalyse a wave of transformation across its industries and sharpen its competitive edge as a key trading and connectivity hub in the region and beyond. Consumers and enterprises can enjoy better mobile experience, new services and applications that were not previously possible (e.g. remote surgery, autonomous vehicles and cloud gaming).

Singapore’s approach:

  • Infrastructure readiness: Singapore will be among the first wave of countries in the world to roll out standalone 5G networks. As a small and open country, it is well positioned to leverage the benefits of its size and strong connectivity infrastructure to commence the roll out of 5G mobile networks by 2020, with full-fledged 5G standalone capability covering at least half of Singapore by end-2022;
  • Holistic Regulatory Approach: Singapore’s regulatory framework aims to facilitate 5G deployments that are timely, secure and fit-for-purpose. In this regard, IMDA will award spectrum to operators who can deliver the desired outcomes and the best value for the Singapore economy;
  • Public-private collaboration for 5G use cases: The Government plays a crucial role in accelerating 5G innovation and research in our Digital Economy. IMDA will continue to support 5G trials in various sectors, such as maritime, urban mobility and smart estates, and co-invest with the industry to develop new 5G use cases for enterprises and consumers.

Decision on Public Consultations and Call for Proposal (CFP)

Following the conclusion of two public consultation exercises, IMDA will facilitate the deployment of two nationwide, standalone 5G networks.

  • All four existing Mobile Network Operators will be invited to participate in the CFP process, which runs from 17 October 2019 to 21 January 2020;
  • IMDA expects to award the spectrum by mid-2020. Hence, Singaporeans can expect the roll out of 5G mobile networks by 2020; and
  • Standalone networks offering full-fledged 5G capabilities to cover at least half of Singapore by end-2022.

Additionally, up to two lots (800 MHz each) of mmWave spectrum will be assigned to remaining MNOs if there is interest, with the flexibility to deploy 5G on a non-standalone basis, as a start.

Reaping the Benefits of Standalone 5G Networks

Only standalone 5G networks have the capacity to support and deliver full-fledged 5G capabilities, such as network slicing, ultra-reliable low latency communications, and massive machine-type communications, which are crucial for the development of innovative new applications, including smart factories, massive IoT devices and autonomous vehicles. This is unlike non-standalone 5G networks that leverage existing 4G networks, and thus only offer higher speeds.

With standalone 5G networks, enterprises and consumers can look forward to:

  • An increase in peak data rates of up to 20 Gbps;
  • More reliable mobile broadband, with a drastically improved response time, possibly as low as 1 millisecond; and
  • More connections for devices, up to one million devices per square km, enabling the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

Supporting 5G Use Cases

IMDA has set aside $40 million to catalyse 5G research and innovation. For a start, IMDA is exploring trials in Maritime Operations, Urban Mobility, Smart Estates, Industry 4.0, Consumers Applications, and Government Applications.

IMDA will also be supporting the trials of three new use cases leveraging 5G capabilities, which are expected to begin by 4Q2019:

  • Cloud Gaming: Razer is collaborating with Singtel in a 5G cloud gaming trial. The trial will test the ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G networks that would allow gamers to play high quality and performance-demanding game on any device.
  • Smart mobility and smart estates: CapitaLand is partnering IMDA, Navinfo Datatech and TPG Telecom to create a 5G-enabled smart estate in Science Park 1 and 2. CapitaLand is leveraging the ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency capabilities of standalone 5G networks to test the deployment of autonomous vehicles for smart mobility, along with other estate-level solutions.
  • Urban mobility: Supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board, A*Star and the National Research Foundation, M1 and the Nanyang Technological University (“NTU”) are collaborating to deploy 5G technology at the university’s campus. The deployment will enable NTU to expand its current cellular vehicle-to-everything (“C-V2X”) communications trials on autonomous vehicle, traffic infrastructure and unmanned aircraft systems to use 5G. Companies will also be able to design and test their connected mobility solutions on the campus-wide testbed.
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