Singapore's telcos clash in race to be fourth player

19 October 2015 |


Two companies that have expressed their interest to become the fourth operator in Singapore have criticised the country’s three major telcos for opposing a proposal to set aside premium spectrum for a new player.

OMGTel and MyRepublic have accused Singtel, StarHub and M1 of being “self-serving” after the operators stated the need for 900MHz spectrum to be reallocated to them in order to provide quality 3G coverage.

“It is disingenuous, if not self-serving, for the three telcos to say that the networks which they have designed and rolled out over the years now cannot meet consumer expectations without further extension of the 900MHz spectrum,” said Sallim Abdul Kadir, OMGTel director.

“If the 900MHz spectrum is reallocated to the telcos for their 3G services, it would be effectively rewarding them for a lack of planning, which would be at the expense of the fourth operator,” he added.

Singapore’s existing three operators have strongly opposed the government’s measures to introduce a fourth player, saying the market does not need additional competition.

In July 2015, Singapore’s telecoms regulator proposedsetting aside 60MHz out of 225MHz of spectrum at a lower reserve price for the entrants in a bid to lower the barriers to entry for the fourth operator. At a base price of just $29.5 million, the 60MHz block is reportedly 60% below the reserve price for the main auction.

All three operators warned that they would face spectrum constraints if the fourth operator acquires the 60MHz.