Singapore regulator to boost adoption of 5G solutions via new fund

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Singapore telecom regulator IMDA recently announced a new SGD30 million ($22.5 million) fund to accelerate the adoption and commercialization of 5G solutions in the country.

The fund is part of IMDA’s 5G Innovation Program and will support solution providers and technology developers commercializing 5G solutions, to help make the benefits of 5G more accessible to more companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises.

As part of its earlier 5G innovation efforts, IMDA supported seven 5G innovation use cases in strategic areas such as cloud gaming, urban mobility, smart estates, industry 4.0 and maritime operations.

In 2019, IMDA inked a partnership with the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore and PSA Singapore, to explore how 5G technologies can be applied in the maritime sector. The technology call to develop 5G use cases at Pasir Panjang Terminal was awarded to local carriers M1 and Singtel to test 5G for Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and Automated Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (“aRTG”). The regulator noted that Phase 1 trials results have been promising, with PSA’s AGV and aRTG operations enjoying enhanced performance due to 5G’s faster speeds, lower latency and higher reliability. Phase 2 of the trials, to test use cases based on new updates of the 5G network are currently underway.

IMDA also announced that it will be supporting a new use case by local operator M1, Continental Automotive Singapore (Continental) and JTC to trial the use of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) and construction safety analytics using 5G. The trials will be carried out at Jurong Innovation District (JID) and will look to enhance operations and drive innovation for Singapore’s logistics and construction sectors.

“5G is a key enabler for Singapore’s digital future, and I am encouraged to see our 5G partnerships with industry demonstrating good results, such as through more efficient and reliable port operations, and good progress on the ongoing trials. The next phase of our 5G strategy will see us build on this momentum, to spur innovation and accelerate the adoption and commercialization of 5G solutions with the new fund. IMDA is nurturing a 5G ecosystem that goes beyond infrastructure, including industry partnerships to develop 5G talent, as well as solutions and services to drive 5G adoption. I hope more companies will come onboard to seize opportunities offered by 5G,” said Lew Chuen Hong, CEO at IMDA.

Local carriers are currently in process to boost their 5G footprint in the country. Singapore carrier StarHub started to deploy a 5G Standalone network in the last quarter of 2020 and it will be commercially available later this year, Chong Siew Loong, CTO at StarHub, recently told RCR Wireless News.

StarHub was the first operator to launch non-standalone 5G services in August 2020, with a population coverage of 70%.

Singtel said it is using 28 GHz mmWave spectrum, in addition to the 3.5 GHz and 2.1 GHz bands, to boost its 5G deployment in Singapore.

Singtel has switched on mmWave in several locations across the island, including Orchard Road, the Padang area and Marina Bay Sands Expo.

Singtel had initially launched its 5G non-standalone (NSA) network in September of 2020, using spectrum in the 3.5 GHz frequency as well as existing 2.1 GHz spectrum.

Singtel and a joint venture between StarHub Mobile and M1 had previously secured licenses to build two nationwide standalone 5G networks in Singapore.

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