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TPG Telecom wins right to be Singapore's fourth telco with $105 million bid

By The Count - on 17 Dec 2016, 12:03pm

TPG Telco becomes Singapore's first foreign Telco

Note: This article was first published on 14th December 2016.

(Image source: TPG Telecom)

Singapore will have its fourth telco after TPG Telecom emerged with a winning bid of S$105 million in the New Entrant Spectrum Auction (NESA), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced today. TPG Telecom will also become Singapore's first foreign telecom operator after local incumbents SingTel, StarHub and M1.

In doing so, the Australia-based telco beat out rival bids from local fibre broadband operator MyRepublic in the 4G mobile airwave action, which many observers had considered the front runner. The company had put up a final bid of S$102.5 million but decided to exit the auction after its Chief Executive, Malcolm Rodrigues considered that "bidding $105 million and beyond simply did not support our vision and business case for mobility in Singapore", in a Facebook posting.

A third contender, local start-up airYotta, had also signed up for the auction in September. But IMDA said last month that it was disqualified from the auction. It had said that airYotta did not fully meet its auction requirements, but did not elaborate.

The new spectrum rights are expected to commence on April 1, 2017 at the earliest. TPG will be required to utilize the allocated spectrum to provide nationwide street level coverage for 4G within 18 months from the start of the new spectrum rights, with road tunnels and in-building service coverage within 30 months from the start of the new spectrum rights. Coverage for MRT underground stations and lines will also have to be completed within 54 months from the start of the new spectrum rights.

What this means is that while TPG can roll out their services next April when the rights become effective, they must assume full network coverage and operations by the middle of 2021 as mandated by IMDA.

So while you might want to start counting down on your existing mobile contract, don't go terminating them just yet.

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