Singtel, M1, StarHub pick Ericsson & Nokia & not Huawei to build S'pore's 5G networks

They will be responsible for building full-fledged nationwide 5G networks for Singapore by 2025.

Julia Yeo | June 25, 2020, 01:06 PM

Singapore's telecom operators have chosen Ericsson AB and Nokia Oyj to build the infrastructure 5G networks, as announced on June 24, Wednesday.

Ericsson & Nokia as key providers to build 5G networks

Singtel Mobile Singapore Pte Ltd (Singtel) picked Ericsson as their provider while a joint venture consortium between StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd (StarHub) and M1 Limited (M1) selected Nokia to build the network and supply the core and mmWave networks, reported Reuters.

The companies said they are also exploring other network parts with China’s Huawei and ZTE.

On April 29, IMDA announced Singtel and the joint venture between StarHub and M1 as the two winners of its 5G Call for Proposal.

The winners will roll out Standalone (SA) networks from Jan. 2021, and will be required to provide coverage for at least half of Singapore by end-2022.

By the end of 2025, Singapore is expecting to provide full nationwide 5G coverage.

No vendors "explicitly excluded"

Huawei is TPG Telecom's selected provider, which raised questions as to whether that factored into why the telco operator was not selected as one of the winners of the proposal in April.

TPG was not selected as one of the main telcos to roll out 5G networks in Singapore, but was allocated the remaining frequency spectrum in the millimeter wave band to roll out localized 5G networks, according to IMDA.

In response to that, S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information (MCI) rejected the speculation, and said Huawei is not exclusively used by TPG as other operators use it as well.

"We never explicitly excluded any vendor,", Iswaran said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin on June 25, adding that the city-state has very clear security and resilience requirements.

He also reiterated that the ministry's focus has not been about particular vendors, and that it has been on overall network resilience and security, and ensuring vendor diversity.

IMDA also asserts that while mobile operators' choice of vendors is a "commercial decision", they are subject to the commitments made in the 5G Call for Proposal, and must satisfy IMDA's resilience and cybersecurity requirements.

Top image via Starhub website, Capitaland