Dispute over 900-MHz brewing in Singapore

telecomasia.net

OMGTel, a company vying to become Singapore's fourth mobile operator, has come out swinging against incumbent operators' claims that they require 900-MHz spectrum to be reallocated to them to provide adequate 3G coverage.

In an opinion article for the Straits Times, OMGTel director Sallim Abdul Kadir accused the incumbents of being disingenuous, and stated that the behavior demonstrates why Singapore needs a fourth telco.

He said the operators have all taken the position that consumers will suffer if they are not allowed to retain the 900-MHz 3G spectrum allocated to them in 2001 under licenses due to expire shortly.

But he noted that the operators have always known the licenses were due to expire and have had adequate time to make arrangements, adding that they have spectrum in multiple bands to provide 3G services, not just 900-MHz.

Reallocating the spectrum to existing holders would be at the expense of the potential fourth operator that will need access to the spectrum, he argued.

“Limiting the fourth operator is against the interest of consumers and will ultimately reduce the competition that the IDA is seeking to introduce,” he wrote.

“The three telcos argue that the entry of the fourth operator would be disruptive. I fully agree with them but disagree that this is bad for the consumer. In fact, since the IDA first floated the idea of a fourth operator, the three existing telcos have scrambled to improve their service offerings because of the prospect of potential new competition.”

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