Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is seeking views from the public and industry on the potential use and allocation of the 2.1 GHz spectrum band for 5G.
The regulator said that the band is currently used for 3G services and will expire at the end of 2021. IMDA proposes to use the 2.1 GHz spectrum band to support the nationwide deployment of 5G Standalone (SA) networks, while allowing flexibility for 3G services to continue.
“As Singapore continues to forge ahead with our nationwide 5G rollout, the availability of the 2.1 GHz spectrum will help provide opportunities for growth for all Mobile Network Operators. The new spectrum can be used to complement existing 5G networks deployed, using the first tranche of 5G Call For Proposal (CFP) spectrum, to enhance coverage and capacity, as well as the potential for deployment of an additional nationwide 5G SA network,” the IMDA said.
“The 2.1 GHz spectrum band has good propagation characteristics, making it suitable for wide-area coverage for 5G,” IMDA added.
IMDA intends to allocate the new spectrum via an auction, open to all existing MNOs in the country. “All 2.1 GHz spectrum right holders must meet baseline regulatory requirements, consistent with the requirements on holders of the first tranche of 5G spectrum allocated through IMDA’s 5G CFP held in 2020,” the agency said. “IMDA intends to hold the auction towards the end of 2021. As part of the auction design, IMDA intends to set 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.”
In April last year, local telco Singtel and a joint venture between StarHub Mobile and M1 were awarded licenses to build two nationwide SA 5G networks in Singapore.
The winners were each allocated 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band.
IMDA noted that other mobile operators will be able to access these network services through a wholesale arrangement.
Under the conditions stipulated in the spectrum auction, the two winners were expected to start deploying SA 5G networks in January 2021 and were also required to provide coverage for at least half of Singapore by the end of 2022, scaling up to nationwide coverage by the end of 2025.