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IDA confirms final auction rules, paving way for sale of 4G spectrum in fourth quarter

15 Jul 2016

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) yesterday published its final clarifications to queries relating to the upcoming sale of 4G-suitable frequencies in the 700MHz, 900MHz, 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz bands, which could now take place as early as October 2016. IDA has set a deadline of 5.00pm on 1 September for expressions of interest (EoI) documents from prospective new market entrants, as it looks to determine the city-state’s fourth mobile network operator (MNO). Potential new entrants must submit their application forms, including supporting documentation to prove they have sufficient funds, following which the regulator will take 20 days to assess their EoI applications and provide the necessary training to participants on how to use the IDA’s computerised auction system. If all goes to plan, the regulator intends to kick off the sale of frequencies in early October, auguring the arrival of a fourth MNO in Singapore in April 2017.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in February this year the IDA set the stage for an auction of mobile airwaves, confirming its plan to sell off 235MHz of spectrum; it will offer 60MHz of bandwidth in the 900MHz and 2300MHz bands for a new MNO, ahead of a general sale for the incumbents Singapore Telecommunications, M1 and StarHub. To entice a would-be newcomer, the IDA is setting a lower reserve of SGD35 million (USD24.9 million) on the fourth-telco spectrum, representing a 45% discount on the standard reserve price. Two local firms have already expressed interest in the auction, fibre broadband services provider MyRepublic and OMGTel, a unit of wireless systems firm Consistel.

Speaking at the time, Jacqueline Poh, managing director of the IDA, said: ‘The spectrum made available will allow all mobile operators to roll out or enhance their high speed networks as early as 2017,’ adding that: ‘Having more players in the market will give consumers a greater choice in selecting an offering that best suits their needs.’ As well as facilitating the launch of new competition, the IDA’s plan is to give existing players more spectrum to cope with rising demand for mobile data. The frequency bands on the table can be used to provide 3G, 4G and 5G services.

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