Singapore chooses Nokia, Ericsson (not Chinese companies) for 5G upgradation
In a major development, Singapore's leading telcos have chosen Nokia and Ericsson to build the core of their next-generation 5G networks. The decision comes amid widespread security concerns around the network equipment provided by the Chinese companies. Notably, the nationwide 5G connectivity on the island is expected to be enabled in the next five years. Here's more about it.
Just recently, Singapore's telecom regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) awarded final contracts of 5G roll-out to two telecom companies - Singtel Mobile and a joint venture consortium between StarHub Mobile and M1 Limited. Under this license, the companies have been tasked to set up the infrastructure and enable high-speed 5G connectivity across the whole island by 2025.
Following the IMDA's announcement, both Singtel and StarHub-M1 consortium issued statements confirming their preferred technologies for enabling 5G coverage in Singapore. The former stated that it has selected Sweden's Ericsson for building the radio access network, core, and mmWave networks of its 5G infrastructure, while StarHub-M1 claimed its preferred choice is Finland-based Nokia for the same job.
Along with the two key players, a third telecom company, TPG Telecom, will also be rolling out 5G, but it has not been awarded the nationwide license. TPG is working with China's Huawei for network gear and has only been allowed to operate smaller 5G networks that provide spot coverage using airwaves that are in abundance.
Singapore's decision to sideline Chinese companies in 5G upgrade comes amid concerns around the possible existence of security backdoors in their network equipment. Chinese telecom gear is certainly cheaper than its foreign counterparts but the security concerns have made governments skeptical. Along with Singapore, US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Taiwan have also kept China out of 5G deployment efforts.
Not to mention, amid heightened border tensions with China, India could also take a similar move and keep Chinese companies out of its 5G roll-out plan. The country has already instructed state-run telcos BSNL and MTNL to ditch Chinese equipment from their 4G upgrade plans.
That said, once 5G roll-out is completed, Singapore's companies and consumers will be able to access the internet at least at 300-1,500Mbps. This would not just enable blazing fast web surfing on phones or faster downloads (imagine HD movie downloads in a matter of seconds) but also make way for connected, self-driving cars, cloud gaming, advanced robotics, and many more applications.