Singapore’s IDA will put spectrum rights for 4G services up for auction next year, in a move that may speed up the launch of LTE in the country.
The regulator plans to sell six blocks of spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz frequencies when a current allocation expires in 2015, under the stipulation that the blocks be used solely for 4G services, the Straits Times reports.
SingTel, StarHub, M1, QMax and PacketOne currently use the spectrum under a ten-year deal signed in 2005.
Firms including Ericsson, Intel and Nokia Siemens have encouraged the authorities to allocate spectrum rights early to provider market participants with “more certainty” over 4G rollouts, an interim proposal released on Monday reveals.
Service providers who bid successfully for the same lot of spectrum could continue using the spectrum and launch 4G services sooner than 2015, upon IDA approval.
SingTel, StarHub and M1 have begun LTE trials on the 2.5GHz spectrum.
The IDA is expected to set an as-yet undisclosed reserve price for the auction, with the price for spectrum rights expected to run into millions of Singapore dollars.
IDA’s deputy chief executive Leong Keng Thai told the Straits Times spectrum rights would run for at least ten years, but declined to estimate how much the government might reap from the auction.
Leong, however, said he believed Singapore’s operators would be “quite sensible”, judging by past auctions. In a 2001 auction, each of the country’s three carriers paid S$100 million (€57 million) per lot of 3G spectrum.