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Singapore waives frequency fees for 5G trials with immediate effect

Above photo: Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim (second from right) taking a tour of the innovations on display at the IMDA booth at Communic Asia. Photo: Dean Koh/OpenGov Asia.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) Singapore will be waiving frequency fees for 5G trials with immediate effect to promote greater technological innovation and forward the development of 5th generation mobile networks. This was one of the announcements made by the Minister of Communications and Information, Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim in his speech at the the Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) opening ceremony.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and future communications infrastructure (the other three are artificial intelligence and data science; cybersecurity; and immersive media through use of Virtual reality/ Augmented Reality) has been identified by IMDA as one of four key frontier technology focus areas to invest and build capabilities in.

5G is viewed as a comprehensive wireless-access solution with the capacity to address the demands and requirements of mobile communication beyond 2020. It can be enabler for IoT applications such as autonomous vehicles and VR/ AR. Globally work on 5G is still in early stages, and regulators and telecom companies are working to figure out what shape it will take. There are several technologies under exploration.

Trials conducted by mobile network operators (MNOs) in Singapore have demonstrated promising capabilities, achieving throughputs of over 1 Gbps with a very low latency of less than 1 millisecond. The waiver of frequency fees will lower regulatory barriers for interested companies and drive further exploration of benefits and applications of 5G by the industry.

Trials conducted in a real-world environment are expected to assist industry in improving understanding how 5G might be optimally deployed in Singapore and how it would operate in Singapore’s business environment. Companies interested in conducting trials can utilise IMDA’s Technical Trial and Market Trial Framework.

IMDA has also identified several spectrum bands that may be suitable for 5G deployment in Singapore, as it expects spectrum demand to increase significantly with commercial launch of 5G services and applications.

The mobile industry has started exploring technologies that enable spectrum to be aggregated across both licensed and license-exempt bands, helping boost mobile data speeds and overall network capacity. IMDA is looking at possible regulations to support the deployment of such aggregation technologies, while ensuring that deployment of technologies such as Wi-Fi can continue in license-exempt bands.

IMDA is also holding a public consultation on 5G related issues from 23 May to 7 July 2017, seeking industry participation to help create the spectrum roadmap and regulatory frameworks for 5G, while fostering business growth and enhancing broadband experience for mobile users.

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