Meet the 3 Challengers Vying to be Singapore’s Fourth Telco

Early last month, three companies applied to be Singapore’s fourth telco.

At the moment, Singapore’s telecommunications industry has three major players, namely Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX: Z74), StarHub Ltd (SGX: CC3) and M1 Ltd (SGX: B2F). According to a newswire report , this would be the first time in 15 years that new companies expressed interest in entering Singapore’s mobile market.

The entry will be facilitated through a spectrum auction which is expected to take place in early October. The starting bid will be S$35 million for 60 MHz of spectrum out of the 900 MHz and 2.3 GHz bands.

This is about half of what the current telcos might pay, lowering the cost of entering Singapore’s mobile market.

Here are the three parties vying to be the fourth player:

1. MyRepublic

MyRepublic is a Singapore-grown startup founded in 2011.

The firm is financially backed by a number parties including Brunei’s largest telco DST Communications, Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas (through its Sunshine Network subsidiary) and French billionaire Xavier Niel. An earlier report suggested that MyRepublic has not been profitable . But MyRepublic also announced a new strategic investor in Leonie Hill Capital, as part of its push to become Singapore’s fourth telco.   

To be sure, MyRepublic is not a stranger to Singapore.

The upstart started offering an ultra-fast broadband service in the Lion City in February 2012 . MyRepublic deems itself as the first company to launch Singapore’s first 1Gbps fibre broadband service under S$50. Currently, its broadband service reaches over 50,000 homes and businesses in Singapore.   

2. TPG Telecom

TPG Telecom is an Australian-based internet service provider.

TPG Telecom started its life as Total Peripherals Group in 1986. After a reverse takeover by SP Telemedia in 2008, it was renamed to TPG Telecom. A series of acquisitions followed the merger, helping TPG Group to amass over 1.87 million broadband subscribers in Australia at the end of the financial year ended 31 July 2016 (FY2016). TPG Telecom’s broadband subscriber figure puts it ahead of Optus, the Australian subsidiary of Singtel. TPG Group is helmed by Malaysian-born David Teoh.   

3. airYotta

Compared to the previous two, less is known about airYotta.

From what I am able to gather, airYotta was formed a little over a month ago by former executives of OMGTel. The latter was initially expected to take part in the auction but withdrew from the auction.

Foolish musings

If everything goes according to the schedule, consumers could have a new mobile choice as early as April 2017 . Until then, we will have to observe how the current incumbents shore up their own subscriber base in response.     

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.