Regional progress on harmonized 700-MHz band

Joseph Waring
19 Jun 2013

Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim announced yesterday that Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to harmonize the 700-MHz digital dividend frequency.

“This agreement, which is in line with the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity band plan, will allow the countries to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband, improve regional mobile roaming and provide for more competitive mobile broadband services,” Dr Ibrahim said.

The 700-MHz digital dividend frequency, which should be available by 2020 after the switchover from analog to digital, will strengthen Singapore’s connectivity with the region and beyond, he said.

“The commitments [for harmonization] are significant for two reasons,” said Dominic Arena, managing partner at Value Partners.

“Firstly, it affirms the widely accepted view that the socio-economic benefits of using the digital-dividend band far outweighs its continued use for TV broadcasting; and secondly because it acknowledges that cooperation within ASEAN or the AEC is critical for reaping the full benefits in terms of network equipment and device availability, deployment cost, digital divide reduction advantages and critically for in/out-bound and intra-bloc roaming,” Arena explained.

The Minister also announced at the imbX the formation a 14-member steering committee that will lead the development of the country’s combined masterplan for the infocomm and media sectors. The initiative is designed to help Singapore’s businesses take advantage of the opportunities created by the growing convergence of infocomm and media.

The committee, chaired by Koh Boon Hwee, chairman of Credence Partners, will be led by the private sector and supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information, the Infocomm Development Authority, the Media Development Authority and the Economic Development Board.

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