Singapore’s telecoms watchdog the Info-communications Development Authority (IDA) has published a consultation paper outlining its plans to accelerate the deployment of 4G mobile networks in the country. According to its paper the IDA aims to ensure that next generation mobile infrastructure is available island-wide by mid-2016 and to help achieve this, next year it will allocate spectrum rights for 4G services ahead of an auction in 2013. The IDA’s plan involves reclaiming spectrum in the 1800MHz band previously awarded for GSM networks (due to expire in 2017), and auctioning them off alongside parts of the 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz band, previously allocated for wireless broadband services and which expire in 2015. Licences are currently held by SingTel Mobile, StarHub Mobile, M1 Limited, PacketOne Singapore and QMax.
The IDA intends to auction off a total of 320MHz of bandwidth and is ring-fencing 40MHz for new market entrants. The incumbents will be allowed to bid on the remaining 280MHz, it said, although a cap of 90MHz has been set to prevent any single operator hoarding frequencies. Further, the IDA is attaching conditions on 4G rollout, and will stipulate that next generation networks be made available nationwide one year after the award process.