The Singapore government announced on Thursday that it plans to become an innovation hub for the next generation of high-speed mobile internet known as 5G and that it will invest $40 million SGD to support 5G research and innovation.
S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information said at the Innovfest Unbound Conference that, “Our aim is to facilitate the deployment of standalone 5G networks to tap into the potential of the technology. 5G standalone networks will be the backbone of Singapore’s digital economy and their “resilience and security are key.”
A standalone network is the infrastructure designed for 5G-specific technologies. According to telecom engineers, standalone networks are cheaper and more efficient than “non-standalone 5G networks” that use existing infrastructure.
The Singapore government has said that these new investments are part of its initiative to begin early adoption trials for 5G technologies in various areas that will include: consumer and government applications, urban mobility solutions and maritime operations and that goal is to improve Singapore’s economic competitiveness.
5G technology promises much faster network speeds than 3G and 4G networks. 5G has greater bandwidth which means more devices can use the network at the same time without slowing down the upload or download speed of the mobile Internet.
5G will allow heavy-duty content, such as video to load more quickly on devices and low latency of 5G means that it takes less time for one gadget to talk to another, which means information can be delivered almost instantly. China, South Korea and the United States have been aggressively developing their 5G networks.
Other parts of the Singapore government, including the Singapore’s National Research Foundation, Cyber Security Agency and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) — the regulator for the information, communication and media sector — will also support research and development in 5G cybersecurity.
Security is a major point of concern in the development of 5G networks since their emphasis is more on software instead of hardware. That means an equipment provider, or even a malicious third party that is able to gain access, can potentially monitor data transfers inside the network and eavesdrop on conversations.
When asked if Singapore has plans to allow Chinese telecommunications tech giant Huawei to build part of its 5G infrastructure, an IMDA spokesperson said the city-state encourages “vendor diversity” in its systems and that the agency is studying the supply chain risks in 5G.