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IDA unveils framework to enhance market innovation and competition

Zafirah Salim | Feb. 22, 2016
Called the Spectrum Auction Framework, IDA aims to conduct the spectrum allocation exercise this year, with a total of 235 MHz of spectrum to be made available for mobile services.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) announced today the Spectrum Auction Framework, which focuses on the allocation of spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) and IMT-Advanced services (e.g. 4G services).

IDA aims to conduct the spectrum allocation exercise this year, with a total of 235 MHz of spectrum to be made available for mobile services. To enhance innovation and competition in the mobile market, IDA will facilitate the entry of a new mobile network operator (MNO), if any, while making sure that there is sufficient spectrum for the incumbent MNOs to provide quality mobile services.

The entry of a new MNO will increase competition in the mobile services market and is likely to bring about a wider variety of innovative services and more competitive offerings to benefit consumers. A new MNO is also expected to bring about increased investments in the infocomm sector, leading to more advanced technologies and improved service quality.

Spectrum auction held over two stages 

According to IDA, the spectrum auction will take place over two stages. The New Entrant Spectrum Auction will be held first, where only interested pre-qualified parties who do not currently operate a nationwide mobile network in Singapore will be eligible to participate. The pre-qualification process serves as a check to ensure that only capable and committed parties are allowed to participate in the auction.

In this stage, IDA is making available 60 MHz of spectrum from the 900 MHz and 2.3 GHz bands. The auction for this spectrum will start at the bid price of S$35 million, and the spectrum rights will commence in April 2017.

The second stage, the General Spectrum Auction, will be held after the conclusion of the New Entrant Spectrum Auction. This will be open to the incumbent MNOs - M1, Singtel Mobile and StarHub Mobile - and any new MNO who emerges after the New Entrant Spectrum Auction.

IDA will allow a reasonable period for the new MNO to build up its own network, and will require the new MNO to achieve nationwide outdoor service coverage by October 2018. The new MNO will be required to comply with IDA's relevant regulatory frameworks and requirements, including Quality of Service (QoS) and service resiliency standards, in phases.

"Pervasive connectivity is a key enabler for our Smart Nation vision. This release of spectrum is timely as it will support the growth of applications that rely on data, as well as new growth areas such as the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine communications," said Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director, IDA.

"The spectrum auction is designed with the interests of consumers in mind. The spectrum made available will allow all mobile operators to roll out or enhance their high speed networks as early as 2017. Having more players in the market will give consumers a greater choice in selecting an offering that best suits their needs," she added.


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