Saturday, 29 February 2020

StarHub and M1 team up for 5G licence bid

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 24 January 20

The Singaporean operators have signed an agreement for a joint proposal for the upcoming spectrum allocation

In October last year, Singapore’s regulator, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), announced that it would be doubling the number of 5G licences it plans to issue in 2020, in an effort to ensure competition.   Previously…

In October last year, Singapore’s regulator, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), announced that it would be doubling the number of 5G licences it plans to issue in 2020, in an effort to ensure competition.
 
Previously, the plan was to issue just two citywide licences, but increasing this number to four now means that all four operators in the city state – Singtel, StarHub, M1, and TPG Telecom – will be able to introduce 5G services.
 
However, the four licences are not created equal: the two originally announced licences will be for the 3.5 GHz band, while the other two will be for additional bandwidth to upgrade existing 4G LTE infrastructure to 5G, targeted specifically at enterprises such as factories.
 
The former pair of licences will be required to create a standalone 5G network spanning 50% of the country by 2023.
 
Now, it seems that StarHub and M1 are joining forces, presumably to make a play for one of the nationwide licences. 
 
With Singapore’s largest operator, Singtel, expected to secure the other, TPG could find itself the only operator without initial access to a nationwide rollout. 
 
Last year, DBS Research suggested that a joint bid would be the best value for telcos, positing that StarHub’s share prices could increase as a result of a joint venture with M1. 
 
The deadline for proposals was previously set at the 21st of January, but on the 9th of January IMDA announced that it would extend this deadline to February to give telcos more time to prepare. 
 
Now the deadline for the 5G proposals is the 17th of February, after which all will become clear for Singapore’s 5G future.
 
 
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