IMDA to re-auction 3G spectrum to bolster 5G coverage, competition

27 Jul 2021

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is seeking views from the public and industry on a proposal to refarm the 2.1GHz spectrum band for 5G in Singapore. In a press release, the regulator noted that the band is currently used for 3G services but will expire at the end of 2021, and it is exploring the potential to reuse the spectrum to support the nationwide deployment of 5G Standalone (SA) networks, while simultaneously maintaining ‘flexibility for 3G services to continue’. IMDA will look to hold the auction in the second half of this year open to all existing mobile network operators (MNOs) – Singtel, StarHub, M1 and TPG Telecom (TPG Mobile) – if they wish to participate. The release of the 2.1GHz band for 5G will hopefully alleviate the issue of a lack of 5G bandwidth to secure islandwide reach, it said, while confirming that the reserve price is likely to be between SGD10 million and SGD15 million (USD7.4 million and USD11.0 million) for each of the twelve paired lots on offer.

‘As Singapore continues to forge ahead with our nationwide 5G rollout, the availability of the 2.1GHz spectrum will help provide opportunities for growth for all MNOs. 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,’ IMDA confirmed in the release.