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IDA: Spectrum set aside for new mobile operator, market can only sustain four players

By Cookie Monster - on 10 Jul 2015, 8:00am

IDA: Spectrum set aside for new mobile operator, market can only sustain four players

 Image source: science.edu.sg

More than a year after launching a public consultation to suss out interest from potential entrants into the local mobile market and in view of increasing demand for mobile data services, IDA is proposing to set aside 60MHz out of the 225MHz of spectrum for an auction that is only opened to potential new entrants. In addition, IDA believes that the local mobile market can support up to four mobile operators given the current circumstances.

To facilitate the entry of the new mobile operator, IDA will set a lower indicative reserve package price of S$40 million as it feels that entry barriers might be too high for the new entrant in a mature market like Singapore. However, the catch for the new entrant is to deploy its own network and deliver nationwide rollout by end September 2018.

So far, two players have indicated their interest to be the fourth mobile operator. They are MyRepublic and OMGTel, although the former is more active in garnering support for its campaign. MyRepublic first expressed its interest in June 2014 and attracted a lot of attention with its proposal of offering unlimited data plans for mobile devices. 

MyRepublic recently reiterated its goal to be the fourth player by revealing ongoing discussions with IDA on how best to facilitate a new fourth telco. It followed up with a mobility trial in the Jurong Lake District (JLD) where 1,000 trial participants will receive free SIM cards and unlimited 4G data in the coverage area.

For the other three telcos (M1, Singtel and StarHub), IDA is planning to conduct a spectrum allocation exercise early next year. The proposed spectrum includes those in the 700MHz band (which is the spectrum to be freed up upon the completion of the digital TV switch over and the switching off of the analogue TV signals), 900MHz, 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz bands. 

The industry and public have the opportunity to comment on IDA's proposal starting from now till 12th August 2015.

Source: IDA