It’s official. TPG Telecom is now Singapore’s 4th official telecommunications network.
The Australian company was founded in 1986 and is already based in other countries such as Hong Kong, Philippines and Tokyo. Today, Channel News Asia announced that the company from Down Under had won the spectrum bid on the New Entrant Spectrum Auction (NESA) with a whopping S$105 million.
And yes, that means that Singapore telco startup MyRepublic has lost the battle for that title.
This was despite the fact that the startup had been in talks with key strategic partners to “elevate the standard of services telcos provide to their consumers, and to take measured steps towards making Singapore a truly Intelligent Nation”.
The company had plans to roll out a Next-Gen pre-5G network that would otherwise have been completed by April this year.
According to the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), TPG Telecom would be given a period of time for it to construct its network, but nationwide outdoor service must begin by October 2018.
However, TPG Telecom could technically start dealing out subscriptions by April 2017 as that would be when their spectrum rights take effect.
The fact that TPG Telecom has won the auction also means that it has all met pre-qualification criteria pertaining to its technical capabilities and financial strength. IDA also imposed a performance bond of S$20 million, or 5 % of TPG’s capital expenditure (whichever is higher), to ensure that the telco maintain its quality standards.
Given the recent screw-ups with existing telcos in Singapore, this news comes as a relief as we can at least be assured that TPG would not be getting away scot-free for failures.
A Potentially Strong Competitor?
The airwave spectrum that was up for auction, and which TPG won, features a changed spectrum composition. This was done in line with the uncertainly surrounding the date of shift from an analogue to a digital transmission.
What this means is that the telco’s cost for utilising the airwaves was also reduced from S$40 million to S$35 million.
What this also means is that the savings could potentially be passed down onto customers, meaning cheaper subscriptions packages.
Despite the resistance of existing telcos to a newcomer, IDA’s managing director Ms Jacqueline Poh, noted that
“Pervasive connectivity is a key enabler for our Smart Nation vision. This release of spectrum is timely as it will support the growth of applications that rely on data, as well as new growth areas such as the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine communications.”
As for StarHub, Singtel and M1, the entry of a fourth telco had originally given them cause for concern, but they have yet to respond to the confirmation of TPG Telecom.
But what we as customers can be certain of, is that with the rise of a new telco network, the ones to benefit from the increased competitiveness will be us.
Featured Image Credits: Araspot, TPG Telecom