Look Back 2019: Rolling out Singapore 5G networks - speed is of the essence

Top: MRT commuters using smartphones. Next year, Singapore will issue licences for up to four 5G networks instead of the original two, as it takes bolder steps to embrace a technology seen as crucial to its economic growth.
MRT commuters using smartphones. Next year, Singapore will issue licences for up to four 5G networks instead of the original two, as it takes bolder steps to embrace a technology seen as crucial to its economic growth.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Top: MRT commuters using smartphones. Next year, Singapore will issue licences for up to four 5G networks instead of the original two, as it takes bolder steps to embrace a technology seen as crucial to its economic growth.
A visitor at StarHub's free pop-up 5G showcase, using its cellular-on-wheel, getting to experience 5G first-hand through activities such as lag-free mobile cloud gaming. PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Scarcity of airwaves in the way of earlier nationwide reach; operators must meet security standards and provide 50% islandwide coverage by end-2022

Next year, Singapore will issue licences to operate up to four 5G networks, instead of the two initially planned for, as it takes bolder steps to embrace a technology believed to be crucial to the nation's economic growth.

All four networks can be rolled out by next year to provide spot coverage, although nationwide coverage will take much longer and be limited to only two networks because of the scarcity of 5G airwaves for islandwide reach. Nationwide reach is possible only in 2021, when these airwaves become available.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2019, with the headline 'TECHNOLOGY: Rolling out Singapore 5G networks - speed is of the essence'. Print Edition | Subscribe