Port of Singapore eyes full maritime 5G coverage by 2025

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is ramping up its efforts to enhance digital connectivity in the port.

Illustration. Courtesy of MPA/Facebook
Illustration. Courtesy of MPA/Facebook

In mid-August 2022, MPA signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), a statutory board under the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information, to develop 5G mobile network capabilities in the maritime domain.

As informed, full maritime 5G coverage in Singapore’s major anchorages, fairways, terminals, and boarding grounds is scheduled to be delivered by mid-2025.

It has the potential to unlock a full suite of maritime solutions leveraging complementary technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet-of-things, big data, drones and autonomous vehicles, to improve safety, effectiveness and efficiencies in maritime operations, according to MPA.

Digitalisation continues to shape and transform the maritime industry, acting as a key driver for global trends such as logistics and supply chain efficiency and decarbonisation,” Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said.

“MPA is taking the lead to help build a robust digital maritime ecosystem for Maritime Singapore, with fast, secure and high capacity 5G connectivity as one of the cornerstones to support real-time data exchanges in the maritime domain. Maritime 5G will enable our global hub port and International Maritime Centre to remain at the forefront of the competition.”

M1 to collaborate with IMDA, MPA and industry players to provide 5G standalone offshore coverage

In a separate release, M1 Limited (M1), Singapore’s mobile network operator (MNO), announced that it will undertake an ambitious multi-year project that aims to provide ubiquitous 5G standalone (SA) offshore coverage for the Southern coast of Singapore, including the surrounding waters of the southern islands.

Extending 5G offshore coverage enhances connectivity in the larger maritime ecosystem and unlocks new use cases and applications. This is an important step in the maritime industry’s digital transformation efforts and its goal of becoming the next engine of growth for Singapore.

In collaboration with, and co-funding from, the MPA and the IMDA, M1 will provide a 5G standalone network to trial, develop and deploy new maritime 5G use cases under the IMDA Innovation and Ecosystem Testbed Programme and the MPA Innovation Lab – making this the world’s first public and largest maritime testbed at sea.

The potential 5G use cases are targeted at enhancing the efficiency and safety of maritime operations and management. The use of 5G connectivity includes telemedicine to enable crew welfare at sea, delivery drones, maritime surveillance, and autonomous vessels, as well as remotely controlled task-based robots, such as ship inspection and autonomous fire-fighting robots, that are used for more dangerous and labour-intensive tasks.

“The launch of M1’s 5G standalone network provides low-latency, responsive, secured and high-throughput mobile connectivity to ensure more precise and reliable communications between the ships and the port. 5G has the capability to resolve long-standing pain points and it will become the natural technology of choice for the maritime industry,” Manjot Singh Mann, CEO of M1, explained.

“As the first country to extend 5G standalone coverage to sea for maritime operations, M1 is excited to partner MPA and IMDA to co-develop 5G solutions that will not only transform the industry but benefit the whole of Singapore’s maritime economy.”