SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore on Thursday launched a S$40 million ($29.5 million) initiative to test applications for 5G networks, the next generation of mobile communications, ahead of a planned rollout next year.
The project, unveiled by minister for communications and information S Iswaran, will test the network in areas such as port management, manufacturing and consumer applications as the city-state looks to be “a global front-runner in impactful 5G use cases”.
Singapore will pick a telecoms company to be the first to mass-market 5G networks by the end of the first quarter of next year, the first step in a broader rollout, Iswaran told journalists after the announcement.
Unlike the upgrades of cellular standards 2G in the early 1990s, 3G around the millennium and 4G in 2010, 5G standards will deliver not just faster phone and computer data but also help connect up cars, machines, cargo and crop equipment.
Chinese telecom firm Huawei Technologies is one firm vying for global deals to operate 5G networks. But the United States has asked countries to reject Huawei technology in the development of new mobile phone networks, arguing that it could be vulnerable to Chinese eavesdropping. Huawei denies its equipment is a security risk.
Singapore has not ruled out allowing telecoms companies to use Huawei technology in their new 5G systems.
($1 = 1.3549 Singapore dollars)
Reporting by Joe Brock and Fathin Ungku; Writing by John Geddie; editing by Gopakumar Warrier