Singapore’s regulator is considering releasing LTE and Wimax spectrum in 2012, three years ahead of its original timetable.
In an industry consultation paper
, the IDA said it is “concerned that operators may be discouraged” from investing in broadband wireless networks in the 2.3Ghz and 2.5Ghz bands since this spectrum isn’t due to be freed up until 2015.
The IDA is therefore considering allocating spectrum in both bands “as early as 2012.”
“The re-allocation of spectrum for both bands could take place at the same time,” states the IDA.
“Alternatively, IDA may choose to allocate the spectrum separately, and allocate the spectrum in the 2.3Ghz band first.”
For a nationwide 4G deployment, the IDA believes that each operator would need a minimum of 30Mhz to achieve access speed of up to 100 Mbps for a coverage area.
One option is to divide the 2.5Ghz spectrum into 2x 70Mhz blocks of paired spectrum and 50Mhz blocks of unpaired spectrum. In turn, the IDA proposes splitting the spectrum into 38 blocks of 5Mhz for award on a technology-neutral basis.
Unlike the 2.5 Ghz band, where overseas experience shows stronger demand for the paired spectrum, the 2.3 Ghz band appears to be favoured for the deployment of TDD networks, with Wimax being the leading technology for deployment, says IDA.
Currently, a total of 50 Mhz spectrum in the 2.3 Ghz band is assigned for WBA services based on lot sizes of 5 Mhz.
“IDA intends to allocate the 2.3 Ghz band in individual blocks of 5 Mhz lots and let operators who require larger carrier size to combine multiple blocks together.”
All three mobile incumbents – SingTel, StarHub and MobileOne – are conducting trial LTE services at 2.5GHz.
Separately, the IDA intends to consult on the possible use of the 700-800 MHz band “when ready.”