Singapore's big three object to 4th telco proposal

09 Sep 2015

Singapore's big three operators have strongly objected to a proposal by regulator IDA to auction a block of spectrum at a significantly lower reserve price and only allow potential new entrants to participate.

The regulator has proposed setting aside 60 MHz of spectrum in the 700-MHz to 900-MHz range to allow a fourth telco to enter the market. It has suggested a reserve price of S$40 million ($28.3 million) for the spectrum, compared to a normal reserve of S$100 million.

But in submissions to the regulator's call for comments into the plan incumbent operators SingTel, StarHub and M1 have disputed the need for a fourth operator, the Straits Timesreported.

The operators have argued that the entry of a new player would lead to a deterioration of mobile service quality on the grounds that there would not be enough spectrum to go around.

SingTel has additionally warned that if the IDA artificially alters competitive dynamics in the market it might discourage existing operators from further investing in the market, while StarHub has questioned whether a new entrant would last if it was reliant on subsidies to enter the market.

Frontrunners for receiving the fourth mobile license include fixed-line ISP MyRepublic and startup OMGTel, in collaboration with public transport operator SMRT.

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