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Singapore awards 5G licences – and winning carriers pick anyone but Huawei for nationwide network

Bid that proposed using Chinese vendor’s kit scores only limited network access

Singapore has named two carriers as having won the right to build nationwide 5G networks, and both promptly named tech providers other than Huawei as their network providers of choice.

The winners of the nationwide 5G licences were Singtel and a joint venture between locals StarHub and M1 Limited. The former named Ericsson as the provider of its 5G SA Core, RAN and mmWave network. StarHub and M1 picked Nokia for its 5G core and mmWave networks, but went out of its way to say it is "exploring other network elements with vendors including Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE".

The third bidder for a nationwide 5G network, Australian company TPG Telecoms, made Huawei kit a part of its bid but was granted only a licence that Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority described as permitting operation of "localised 5G networks".

TPG nonetheless told [PDF] investors that it will "roll out next generation 5G services in support of new consumer and enterprise use cases". Which sounds a lot like an IoT play.

Singaporean minister for communications and information Mr S Iswaran said the licensing decisions were made after a networking-vendor-blind assessment process.

With TPG's stronghold being Australia – the company considers Singapore an expansion target – and the other two bidders being strongly local, there are few reasons to doubt the minister's words, especially as Singapore hasn't stated a position on Huawei or other Chinese networking vendors. ®

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