The Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) today launched a Call for Proposal (“CFP”) to facilitate the roll out of 5G mobile networks by 2020, with full-fledged 5G standalone capability covering at least half of Singapore by end-2022. This is one of several initiatives announced today to boost Singapore’s Digital Economy and reinforce Singapore’s position as a global business and connectivity hub.

5G will be a key connectivity infrastructure for Singapore, capable of supporting the transformation of many industry sectors. Given the importance of 5G, the CFP is a practical approach to award spectrum to operators that can maximise the potential of 5G to deliver the best value to the economy.

Under the CFP, two equal spectrum packages will be put up for bids among the four existing Mobile Network Operators (“MNOs”) – M1, Singtel, StarHub and TPG Telecom. IMDA will assess the MNOs’ proposals based on a comprehensive set of criteria, including network security design, network performance and spectrum offer price. The two selected MNOs will be required to deploy the 3.5GHz spectrum band on a standalone basis to unlock 5G’s full-fledged capabilities, such as network slicing, ultra-reliable low latency communications, and massive machine type communications.

In addition, IMDA will assign two 800MHz lots of mmWave spectrum to the remaining two MNOs. The MNOs will have the flexibility to deploy mmWave spectrum on a non-standalone basis, by leveraging their existing 4G infrastructure to deliver localised 5G services focusing mainly on higher broadband speeds. The CFP will run from 17 October 2019 until 21 January 2020. Awarding of the spectrum is expected to take place by mid-2020.

To achieve the vision of Singapore as a global front-runner for innovation in secure and resilient 5G applications and services, IMDA has put in place several initiatives to develop the 5G ecosystem:

  • Regulatory framework and policies to drive timely, cost-effective and robust 5G network rollout;
  • Talent development for 5G and future networks; and
  • Support for use-cases to anchor Singapore’s position in global innovation.

Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran said, “As the next evolution in mobile communications, 5G will be the backbone of Singapore’s digital economy. With a trusted, secure and resilient 5G standalone infrastructure in place, we can invest in, and support the growth of, a thriving 5G innovation ecosystem that fuels innovation, creates more opportunities and maximises benefits for businesses and consumers. This will secure Singapore’s competitive edge, and enhance our appeal as a key trading and connectivity hub in the region and beyond.”

To encourage the development of an open and inclusive 5G innovation ecosystem, IMDA will be supporting two enterprise use cases and one consumer use case.

IMDA is supporting a strategic partnership between CapitaLand, TPG Telecom and Navinfo Datatech to deploy Singapore’s 5G Smart Estates use-case at CapitaLand’s Singapore Science Parks One and Two. This deployment leverages 5G and Cellular vehicle-to-everything (“C-V2X”) technologies to develop and deploy intelligent mobility solutions.

Supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board, A*Star and the National Research Foundation, M1 and the Nanyang Technological University (“NTU”) will also be launching the NTU Connected Smart Mobility Testbed to research and test new 5G vehicle communications solutions at the NTU campus.

IMDA, Razer and Singtel are also aiming to test 5G for cloud gaming in an urban environment.

IMDA has also rolled out several initiatives to build upon its collaborations with the industry and people.

Collaborating for sector innovation capabilities

Digital Services Lab exploring a technical reference architecture of autonomous delivery of goods for commercial buildings
Locally, IMDA continues to push ahead in bringing the ecosystem together to overcome industry digitalisation challenges and national strategic interest areas that could benefit from faster intermediation through its Digital Services Laboratory  (“DSL”).

One area that DSL is working on is the delivery of goods using Autonomous Mobile Robots (“AMR”) for commercial buildings. In the face of rising labour costs, use of AMRs play an important role to help businesses to operate efficiently with optimal resource usage. While the individual technologies are fairly developed, there remain significant engineering challenges to integrate them together, including integration with building infrastructures, such as lifts and doors, among others.

Following a successful technology trial with industry players, IMDA is currently developing a nationwide technical reference architecture of autonomous delivery of goods for commercial buildings. This technical reference architecture serves to align industry stakeholders towards a common reference architecture, aiding their deployment of such AMRs.

More tools to help businesses prepare 

A new free online Tech Capability Assessment Tool was released today to further complement and walk aspiring ICT SMEs to go cloud native through a self-assessment of their digital capabilities and readiness to adopt cloud native. It is available at https://techcapabilitytool.sg.

Cloud native architecture is essential for business’s digital transformation in a Services 4.0 vision, providing easier access and more cost-effective and scalable solutions for ICT organizations. More than 50 companies have already benefited from IMDA’s GoCloud initiative, which helps them move from traditional software development practices and architecture to applications developed and deployed as cloud native applications. For more details, please refer to Annex C.

Forging partnerships with the industry and people

MentorConnect – Bringing women in tech together

IMDA recognises that better workplace diversity through efforts such as attracting and retaining more women to join the infocomm sector can strengthen business outcomes and deepen Singapore’s talent pool. IMDA, together with Dell Technologies, Salesforce and ST Engineering, today launched the Singapore MentorConnect programme to harness the strengths and networks across the companies, and spearhead a new wave of partnerships.

Local partnerships to progress innovation

IMDA also announced updates in collaborations with two other local partners. As companies deploying AI at scale within their operations and services start adopting IMDA’s Model AI Governance Framework (“Framework”), they will need IT professionals familiar with the Framework. IMDA and the Singapore Computer Society (“SCS”) have today formed a new AI Ethics and Governance Steering Committee. The industry-led effort will use the Framework to develop AI ethics and governance certification courses . For more details, please refer to Annex E. Alongside this, IMDA and SGTech have also signed a Memorandum of Intent pledging further commitment to support organisations in building their data protection and data innovation capabilities, as well as a community of practice for their employees.

Opportunities in China – IMDA-TusStar Xchange

IMDA announced that it had signed a deal with TusStar (Beijing) Science and Technology Enterprise Incubator called the IMDA-TusStar X-Change. IMDA-TusStar X-Change will support deep tech companies’ market discovery and access into China and Singapore’s tech ecosystems.

Preparing the workforce of the future

IMDA is working with consulting firms Accenture, EY, KPMG and PwC Singapore to pilot a training programme for data protection professionals that provides them with on-the-job exposure through data protection projects under IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator scheme. The training will utilise the Data Protection Officer Competency Framework and Training Roadmap, released in July 2019 by the IMDA and Personal Data Protection Commission. It will pave the way for future data protection consulting service as a new service for local and regional markets. More details will be announced when ready.

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