All four mobile operators in Singapore have submitted their bids for 5G licenses in the country, with two making a joint submission. If successful, they are slated to be awarded the spectrum by mid-2020. 

Industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said Monday it received three bids at the close of the 5G Call for Proposal on February 17, with Singtel Mobile and TPG Telecom submitting one bid each. M1 and StarHub submitted a joint bid for a license, following their announcement last month that they had inked an agreement to do so. 

According to IMDA, bids would be assessed based on a set of criteria that included network security design and resilience, network performance and rollout, and spectrum offer price. The base price of one 100MHz lot had been set at SG$55 million. 

Singapore is expected to have two full-fledged standalone 5G networks covering more than half the island by end-2022, with deployments to begin this year. IMDA last October said two additional licences would be made available, if there were interest from the industry, which would enable telcos to run localised 5G services on existing 4G networks.

Full islandwide coverage was expected by 2025 and operators of the two nationwide networks would have to provide wholesale services to other operators, including mobile virtual network operators such as Circles.Life

When awarded, the two mobile network operators would have to deploy the 3.5GHz spectrum band as standalone 5G networks, supporting capabilities such as network slicing and ultra-reliable low latency communications. These would be essential for the development of new applications such as smart factories, massive Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and autonomous vehicles. 

The government agency added that it also would release two 800MHz lots of mmWave spectrum to the remaining mobile operators, which would then have the option to deploy the spectrum to offer localised 5G services running on their existing 4G networks. Unlike the full-fledged standalone 5G networks, these smaller networks would offer primarily higher broadband speeds. 

IMDA had said it would support three use cases, including two enterprise initiatives, to help drive the development of the local 5G ecosystem. Amongst these is a 5G trial site at Singapore Science Park to develop and test cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technologies, serving as a testbed for smart mobility services in a commercial space. 

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