IDA may hold special auction for fourth telco

09 Jul 2015

IDA Singapore is proposing to allow only one new entrant into the nation's mobile market, and has suggested holding a special auction to determine which that new entrant will be.

The regulator has proposed to set aside 60 MHz of spectrum, including 40 MHz of sub 1-GHz airwaves, for an auction open only to potential new players, Channel News Asiareported.

The auction would have a lower reserve price compared to spectrum to auctioned for established players, with an indicative package price of S$40 million ($29.6 million).

Whichever company wins the special auction would be required to deploy its own mobile network, achieving nationwide coverage by September 2018.

According to IDA, a new entrant into the market would encourage innovation and competition, but the Singapore mobile market is not big enough to sustain more than four mobile operators.

IDA will now open the plan up for public consultation, and has set a deadline for feedback of August 12.

To date two companies have expressed an interest in securing Singapore's fourth mobile license – fiber-centric ISP MyRepublic, which recently expanded into Indonesia, and start-up OMGTel, in collaboration with public transport operator SMRT.

Both MyRepublic and OMGTel expressed enthusiasm over IDA's proposal, indicating a willingness to participate in the proposed auction.

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