The Singapore government stepped-up efforts to become a leading digital economy, announcing a raft of initiatives aimed at preparing the city state to take full advantage of 5G networks when they roll out later this year or in early 2021.
Measures from the Ministry of Communications and Information include the citywide launch of a parcel locker network to improve the efficiency of its e-commerce logistics sector; support for companies to hire and train mid-career professionals for technology jobs; and a programme to help small- and medium-sized enterprises access overseas markets without the need for a physical presence.
In addition, the government started the Cyber Talent Initiative, which aims to nurture talent to support its aim of being a cybersecurity hub.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) expects to award 5G spectrum licences by mid-2020 after receiving proposals last month from Singtel, TPG Telecom and a joint-submission from StarHub and M1. The agency said it is evaluating the submissions.
Two citywide standalone (SA) 5G licences are being offered, but IMDA in October 2019 expanded its plans with a call for proposals covering localised networks for enterprise services.
Despite its ambition to be a 5G leader, Singapore has waited to deploy the SA version from the start, pushing its schedule behind countries including South Korea and China.
A key reason for the wait is the government believes the business models and use cases are far from clear.
In May 2019, it earmarked SGD40 million ($28.9 million) to develop what it calls an open and inclusive 5G innovation ecosystem.
IMDA plans to issue additional 5G spectrum in 2024 or 2025.