Singapore Plans to Free Up 3G Mobile Market

Singapore will open its third-generation (3G) mobile telecommunications market to up to six operators, the country's regulator, TAS (Telecommunications Authority of Singapore), proposed last week.

The current mobile phone market has two operators using a mix of GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology, with a third, StarHub Pte. Ltd., licensed to begin operations on April 1, 2000.

Successful entrants will be companies that can deliver new services using 3G technology rather than those that see 3G as an extension of the current technology, according to TAS. The regulator intends to license 3G operators who have the technical and marketing expertise to fully leverage the technology, providing a wide range of innovative and value-added services, TAS said in a consultative document.

To promote advanced services, TAS said it will consider offering licenses for providing broadband multimedia (BBMM) services rather than licenses for just mobile telephone services.

The regulator expects to make 60MHz of spectrum available for 3G BBMM services, which could be allocated in various ways. It is considering giving the three current licensees 10MHz of bandwidth each, with 15MHz of bandwidth to be given to two additional licensees, TAS said. Alternatively, up to six entrants will each receive 10MHz of bandwidth.

Singapore will remain technology-neutral by accepting all 3G networks based on International Telecommunications Union (ITU)-endorsed standards rather than choosing between the rival W-CDMA (Wideband CDMA) and cdma2000 offerings, TAS said.

TAS can be reached via the Internet at http://www.tas.gov.sg/.

Desk edit by: Mary Lisbeth D'Amico

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