MyRepublic signs deal with local telco to launch mobile services in early 2018

Local fibre broadband operator MyRepublic has pushed back the launch of its mobile services here to early 2018.
Local fibre broadband operator MyRepublic has pushed back the launch of its mobile services here to early 2018.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
MyRepublic chief executive officer Malcolm Rodrigues confirmed that his company has signed a deal to buy airtime in bulk from one of the dominant local telcos.
MyRepublic chief executive officer Malcolm Rodrigues confirmed that his company has signed a deal to buy airtime in bulk from one of the dominant local telcos.PHOTO: MYREPUBLIC

SINGAPORE - Local fibre broadband operator MyRepublic has pushed back the launch of its mobile services here to early 2018.

On Wednesday (Nov 22), MyRepublic chief executive officer Malcolm Rodrigues confirmed that his company has signed a deal to buy airtime in bulk from one of the dominant telcos - Singtel, StarHub and M1. He would not confirm talk that the telco is StarHub.

MyRepublic, a mobile virtual network operator which does not build its own physical mobile networks, lost out to Australia-based TPG Telecom in securing the fourth telco licence in Singapore last year.

"We are already plugged into the local mobile operator and are testing SIM cards," said Mr Rodrigues.

He added that it had earlier planned to launch here in the fourth quarter of this year but needed time to test a more robust system that could support simultaneous mobile service launches in overseas markets.

MyRepublic will be launching mobile services in Australia and Indonesia sometime next year after the Singapore launch.

The expansion comes after MyRepublic raised $70 million from Singapore-based fund management and financial services firm Makara Capital, MyRepublic announced on Wednesday. The investment comes from the Makara Innovation Fund, a $1 billion private equity fund established in April this year to focus on late-stage start-ups with strong intellectual property.

MyRepublic - backed by French billionaire Xavier Niel - aims to be profitable by the middle of next year, with an initial public offering planned for end-2018 in Singapore, Hong Kong or Australia.

Proceeds from the IPO will help the company expand in eight other regional markets, including Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, over the next five years.

MyRepublic previously raised a total of $120 million from Brunei's largest telco DST Communications and Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas' telco unit Sunshine Network, among others.

The latest injection of funds will also allow MyRepublic to drive digital transformation in the telco sector. Specifically, it plans to build payment systems for consumers and businesses as homes become "smarter" and as businesses automate.

"If we do this right, one plus one will get you 11," said Mr Rodrigues. "We want to grow and become more than just a telecom service provider."

MyRepublic has 70,000 broadband subscribers here, and a total of more than 200,000 broadband customers across the four markets it operates in - Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.