5G spectrum licenses in Singapore are expected to be given out by the middle of 2020

Last week, Microsoft and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) signed a Memorandum of Intent to provide a “development environment” to facilitate the creation of 5G applications, services and capabilities. The pair plan to provide technical consultation on 5G standards, interoperability and design principles to government agencies, enterprises and technology companies as they build proof-of-concept 5G applications on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

The recent partnership with Microsoft is part of IMDA’s efforts to drive the development and adoption of 5G applications in Singapore. The agency also revealed in June that it was setting aside SG$40 million to build up the 5G ecosystem, a process that includes the development of testbeds that would allow government and private organizations to run their 5G use cases.

Microsoft’s Singapore managing director Kevin Wo commented that 5G “will open up new possibilities and a proliferation of innovative cloud-based applications across various industries.”

He added, “And when we infuse data, artificial intelligence and mixed reality into the cloud and power it with 5G, what you get is an intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, which presents tremendous potential for the industry to come together to nurture a local ecosystem to help transform enterprises.”

IMDA and Microsoft will also explore opportunities in smart estates, urban mobility, Industry 4.0 and maritime operations.

Originally, IMDA planned for only two standalone 5G networks with nationwide coverage. However, in October, the agency announced its belief that Singapore can accommodate two more localized 5G networks in addition to two nationwide ones.

Rather than hold a spectrum auction, IMDA has called upon the country’s top operators to submit proposals for the 5G spectrum in a process called a Call for Proposal. The regulatory agency will assess each operator’s financial capability, network security design and ability to achieve the 50% coverage goal by the end of 2022.

The spectrum licenses are expected to be given out by the middle of 2020.

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