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IMDA Consults on Spectrum Allocation for Enterprise and Public Mobile Use

May 24 2019 | by OrionW

The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched an 8-week public consultation to seek views on the proposed policy and regulatory frameworks on the allocation of spectrum for enterprise and public mobile use.

The consultation document issued by IMDA sets out the following proposals:

  • allocating spectrum in the 800 MHz and Time Division Duplex (TDD) 1900 MHz bands to serve the needs of enterprise users;
  • allocating the Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) 2100 MHz spectrum band for public mobile use; and
  • setting an auction framework for the assignment of spectrum in the above bands.

800 MHz Spectrum Band

IMDA proposed the assignment of available spectrum at 810-823 MHz and 855-868 MHz to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) based services for enterprises and further proposes to assign 1 MHz at 809-810 / 854-855 MHz to guard bands between Trunked Radio and LTE services.

Subject to the migration or cessation of existing users over the coming years, IMDA expects the spectrum rights to commence in 2022 and is considering allocating spectrum on a 7- to 10-year term in this band.

TDD 1900 MHz Spectrum Band

The TDD 1900 MHz spectrum band is currently allocated for 3G mobile services but has been largely unused.  Therefore, IMDA has proposed to reform the TDD 1900 MHz spectrum band for enterprises by allocating available spectrum at 1905-1915 MHz for LTE-based voice and data communication services.  IMDA further recognised a need to allocate two 5 MHz guard bands at 1900-1905 MHz and 1915-1920 MHz.  IMDA is also considering a 7- to 10-year spectrum right term and shall continue monitoring developments on potential uses for this spectrum band.

FDD 2100 MHz Spectrum Band

This spectrum band is currently allocated to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) such as M1, Singtel Mobile and Starhub Mobile for 3G mobile services and is set to expire in 2021.  Due to the importance of 3G and 4G networks in Singapore, IMDA proposed to allocate this spectrum band to both 3G and 4G mobile services on a 15-year spectrum right.

Proposed Spectrum Assignment Framework

IMDA proposed to assign spectrum in the above bands by auction with specified reserve prices, except that for existing holders of spectrum in the 800 MHz and FDD 2100 MHz bands, allocation is proposed to be on a First Rights of Refusal (FROR) basis.  All allocations of spectrum will be subject to spectrum caps, inclusive of FROR lots, and put-to-use and rollout requirements.

In particular, IMDA proposed to conduct two separate “Clock Plus” formatted auctions for spectrum assignment in allocating: (a) the 800 MHz and TDD 1900 MHz spectrum bands; and (b) the FDD 2100 MHz band for mobile services.  IMDA further determined spectrum caps as follows: (a) a bidder of 10 MHz of unpaired TDD 1900 MHz spectrum is not allowed to bid for any 800 MHz spectrum lots and vice versa; (b) a spectrum cap of two lots of paired 2x5 MHz for 800 MHz bidders; and (c) a spectrum cap of four lots of paired 2x5 MHz for the FDD 2100 MHz spectrum auction.

Finally, IMDA indicated the reserve prices of each spectrum lot below:

  • 800 MHz and TDD 1900 MHz Spectrum Auction for a spectrum right duration of 7-10 years
    • S$450,000 to S$900,000 for a 2x5 MHz lot in the 800 MHz band;
    • S$100,000 to S$250,000 for a 2x3 MHz lot in the 800 MHz band; and
    • S$450,000 to S$900,000 for an unpaired 10 MHz lot in the TDD 1900 MHz band.
  • FDD 2100 Mhz Spectrum Auction for a spectrum right duration of 10 to 15 years: S$10 million to S$15 million for each 2x5 MHz lot in the FDD2100 MHz band.

The IMDA consultation will close by noon on 15 July 2019.