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Singapore confirms fourth mobile operator license

By Tony Chan

The Singapore government is set to introduce a fourth mobile network operator.  As part of the rules for an upcoming spectrum auction, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore set aside 60MHz of frequencies in the 900MHz and 2300MHz spectrum bands for a new mobile network operator, officially paving the way for the entry of a fourth player in the market.  The 60MHz of spectrum for a new operator will be offered at a discounted reserve price of S$35 million – 45% below the reserve price for the rest of the 175MHz spectrum on offer.  At least two companies are reportedly interested in becoming Singapore’s fourth mobile network operators: broadband ISP MyRepublic and OMGTel, a unit of wireless systems supplier Consistel. While both firms have expressed interest, they are also lobbying the government for further incentives such as a national roaming scheme, and have yet to submit formal applications.

The deadline for submission of expression of interests from newcomers has been set for 1 September with the actual auction set for as early as October.  In addition to the 900MHz and 2300MHz, the auction also includes frequencies in the 700MHz, and 2500MHz bands. All three Singapore incumbent mobile operators, Singtel, Starhub and M1, are expected to bid for new airwaves in the auction.

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