IMDA awards provisional 2.1GHz spectrum allocations for 5G

29 Nov 2021

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore has announced the award of provisional 2.1GHz spectrum allocations for 5G services to domestic operators Singtel, the M1-StarHub Consortium (Antina [JVCo]) and TPG Telecom (TPG Mobile). In an announcement dated 26 November, the regulator confirmed that Singtel and Antina (JVCo) had each been issued with provisional rights to 25MHz blocks of 2.1GHz spectrum – the maximum allowed under its latest auction Ts&Cs – to support the rollout of fifth-generation services. IMDA said the allocation comes in five lots of 2×5MHz paired spectrum. Meanwhile, Aussie-backed TPG Mobile has been issued with 2×5MHz of spectrum, meaning that Singaporean users should have a wide choice of 5G Standalone (SA) networks on the proviso that all cellcos meet their rollout criteria.

In a press release, IMDA confirmed: ‘Singtel Mobile and the M1-StarHub Consortium may use the new spectrum to enhance the coverage and capacity of their existing 5G Standalone (SA) networks deployed with the first tranche of spectrum issued by IMDA in 2020. Both Singtel and M1-StarHub consortium are on track to establish two nationwide networks with full-fledged 5G SA capabilities with at least 50% coverage by end-2022, and nationwide coverage by end-2025.’

Furthermore the release went on to note: ‘TPG will be required to deploy a new 5G network in the same manner and time frame as Singtel Mobile and the M1-StarHub Consortium’s deployment conditions. TPG must roll out a 5G SA network with at least 50% coverage within two years, and nationwide 5G SA coverage within five years, from the commencement of its 2.1GHz spectrum rights. TPG will also be required to ensure that its network will be secure and resilient.’

The winning bidders will have rights to the 2.1GHz spectrum from 1 January 2022. The blocks were reportedly sold for SGD15.5 million (USD11.3 million) per lot, plus a ‘FROR’ lot fee of SGD3 million.