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IDA to Release More Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Services and to Facilitate Entry of New Mobile Operator

last updated 28 November 2016

7 July 2015 - The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is proposing to release more spectrum for mobile broadband services and to facilitate the entry of a new mobile operator.  

Singapore, 7 July 2015 | For Immediate Release

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is proposing to release more spectrum for mobile broadband services and to facilitate the entry of a new mobile operator.

Demand for more spectrum and strong interest from potential new entrants

In April 2014, IDA consulted the public on the allocation of radio spectrum for mobile broadband services as well as the introduction of further competition to enhance the vibrancy of the mobile and wireless landscape in Singapore. Several industry players supported the allocation of more spectrum in view of the increasing consumer demand for mobile data services. Potential new entrants also indicated strong interest to enter the mobile market.

IDA targets to conduct a spectrum allocation exercise in early 2016 to make available a total of 225 MHz of spectrum for mobile services, after taking into account industry responses from the consultation and international developments in spectrum use. The proposed spectrum to be allocated will include those in the 700 MHz band, which is the spectrum to be freed up upon the completion of the digital TV switch over and the switching off of the analogue TV signals, as well as spectrum in the 900 MHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz bands. This is in addition to the 270 MHz of 4G spectrum released in 2013. The indicative auction reserve price for the 700 MHz and 900 MHz bands is set at $20 million per 5 MHz pair, while that for the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz bands is set at $5 million per 5 MHz block.

Potential for wider variety of innovative services and competitive offerings to benefit end-users

The entry of a new mobile player will increase competition in the mobile services market. A new entrant is likely to bring about a wider variety of innovative services and more competitive offerings to the benefit of end-users. For example, the entry of new broadband Retail Service Providers offering services over the Nationwide Broadband Network (NBN) has led to the introduction of innovative broadband packages at competitive prices in the fixed broadband market. Globally, IDA has observed that markets such as France and Spain experienced competitive mobile price plans and the introduction of new service offerings following the entry of a new mobile player. In addition, a new entrant may incentivise incumbents to invest in infrastructure upgrades leading to an improved quality of experience for consumers.

Studies have also shown that global mobile data traffic is expected to grow between 40% and 60% over the next few years1 , leading to an overall growth in the mobile market. New growth areas, such as the “Internet of Things” and Machine-to-Machine communications, will offer business opportunities and growth potential for the mobile market, especially with Singapore’s effort towards building a Smart Nation.

Spectrum set-aside for a new entrant auction

Given the strong interest from the market and the potential consumer benefits to be reaped with a new entrant, IDA proposes to facilitate the entry of a new mobile network operator by setting aside 60 MHz out of the 225 MHz of spectrum at a lower indicative reserve package price of S$40 million, for a spectrum auction that is opened only to potential new entrants. This is in recognition of the fact that a new entrant will face entry barriers in a mature market, given the significant upfront capital investments required to deploy nationwide services for consumers. The new entrant who successfully bids for this set-aside spectrum package is required to deploy its own network and achieve nationwide rollout by end September 2018.

IDA also proposes to provide guiding principles to aid wholesale negotiations between Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and mobile network operators, recognising that MVNOs who have the ability to re-package wholesale services into their own service offerings can also bring about innovative service offerings for targeted consumer segments.

Given the size of Singapore’s mobile market and global market developments, IDA does not at this juncture see Singapore’s mobile market being able to sustain more than four nationwide infrastructure players with new MVNOs also entering the market.

Ms Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director, IDA, said, “IDA has always been open to the entry of telcos that can bring about innovative and competitive services in the market, and enhance mobile broadband services on a sustainable basis. These proposals have taken into consideration market interest as well as initial industry feedback.”

As the spectrum bands to be released at the coming auction and the framework to facilitate market entry are significant decisions to be taken by IDA, IDA has decided to allow an opportunity for the industry and public to comment on IDA’s proposals before finalising them. The public consultation begins today, 7 July 2015 and will close on 12 August 2015.


ISSUED BY THE INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE (IDA)

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About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The mission of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore with a view to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes. IDA does this by actively supporting the growth of innovative technology companies and start-ups in Singapore, working with leading global IT companies as well as developing excellent information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, policies and capabilities for Singapore. For more news and information, visit www.ida.gov.sg. Follow IDA on Facebook and Twitter.

For media clarifications, please contact:

Adrian CHAN (Mr)
Manager
Corporate and Marketing Communications Division
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Email: adrian_km_chan@imda.gov.sg

Angie LOW (Ms)
Senior Manager
Corporate and Marketing Communications Division
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Email: angie_low@imda.gov.sg

Note to Editor

1Studies are taken from industry players and consultancy firms such as Cisco, Ericsson and Gartner.