1,000 jobs in 5G technology to be created by year end

Singapore's 5G networks will be built by Singtel and, separately, a joint venture between StarHub and M1. PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI, KELVIN CHNG, STARHUB

Around 1,000 positions in 5G expertise will be created by the end of this year, of which a third will be new roles, with the rest to be filled by existing telecommunications professionals who will be retrained.

The initiative is from a partnership between the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and mobile network operators, as the demand for such professionals continues to grow while Singapore's nationwide 5G roll-out gains momentum.

Announcing this at the ConnecTech Asia virtual event yesterday, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran said: "Even as we build our hardware and software, ultimately, people are at the heart of our growth. Part of the first wave of 5G opportunities is in the creation of jobs to support the network infrastructure."

Training of the existing telecoms professionals will begin at the end of this year, with plans to train 5,000 5G professionals over the next three years.

To oversee the matching of talent with opportunities, IMDA has set up 5G workforce transformation committees with each of the four mobile network operators through the TechSkills Accelerator programme.

These committees will identify the talent requirements of each telco across functions such as 5G networking, cyber security and solution engineering, said Mr Iswaran.

IMDA will also be appointing a consortium, comprising the National University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic, as the 5G and Telecoms Programme Manager, which will coordinate programmes to develop skills across the country's 5G ecosystem.

Mr Iswaran added: "We will continue to work closely with the industry to equip our workforce with the right skills so that our workers can secure good jobs as demand grows in emerging tech areas like 5G.

"A strong and skilled workforce, together with our 5G infrastructure and trials, is essential to expand Singapore's capacity for innovation."

Advanced 5G technologies promise surfing speeds 20 times faster than what 4G networks offer and the ability to connect 1,000 times as many devices.

They can also better support mission-critical applications, such as driverless car navigation and remote surgery requiring a constant connection without lag.

Mr Iswaran said: "Singapore has committed to invest substantially in 5G, because of the exciting opportunities it will bring businesses, workers and individuals.

"Its higher bandwidth, lower latency and dynamic network capabilities will unlock novel applications that were not previously possible."

There are now six consortia testing 5G applications across different sectors, from smart estates to consumer gaming.

The Republic's two full-fledged nationwide 5G networks will be ready by 2025, and will be built by Singtel and, separately, a joint venture between StarHub and M1.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2020, with the headline 1,000 jobs in 5G technology to be created by year end. Subscribe