IMDA launches public consultation on 800MHz, 1900MHz and 2100MHz allocation

28 May 2019

Singapore’s independent telecoms watchdog the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) has opened a public consultation seeking feedback over spectrum allocation for enterprise and public mobile use in the city-state. It is understood that the discussion will revolve around a number of key topics, chief of which is the assignment of dedicated spectrum in the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands to enterprise users ‘in order to serve growing demand for enterprise data services’. Meanwhile, IMDA seeks feedback on allocating the 2100MHz frequency band – until now set aside for just 3G – for both 3G and 4G mobile services. As part of the process, the watchdog will canvass industry opinion on how each of these spectrum bands will be assigned, including the auction mechanism, mindful that Singapore wants to optimise its ‘scarce spectrum resources’ for the Singapore public at large. ‘While these three spectrum bands are not globally identified as forerunners of spectrum for 5G, it is important for industry players to take them into consideration as they plan their network resources and investments holistically,’ said IMDA deputy chief executive and director-general (telecoms & post), Aileen Chia.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month IMDA also called on interested telcos to submit detailed proposals on their 5G deployment plans, suggesting that by 2020 at least two networks will be rolled out in the city-state. The regulator intends to assign 5G-suitable spectrum to ‘two winning submissions’ through a Call For Proposal (CFP) regulatory instrument, rather than conducting an auction of spectrum, with telcos’ proposals assessed instead on the quality of their deployment schedules. It is understood that these include hitting 50% 5G network coverage by 2023, an agreement to allow MVNOs to access the new network to provide resell services and fulfilling the watchdog’s financial capability requirements to support the rollout. IMDA plans to allocate spectrum in the 3.5GHz, 26GHz and 28GHz bands for 5G in the initial tranche of spectrum allocation to telcos. This will be sufficient for at least two nationwide 5G networks, the authority confirmed. IMDA is openly backing the deployment of standalone 5G networks in the country, which will be capable of delivering a full suite of enterprise 5G capabilities, including network slicing and low latency connections for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.