Singapore now provides one of the world's cheapest home broadband connections

MyRepublic's new 1Gbps plan lowers cost of each Mbps to 5 cents from 13 cents

Singapore now provides one of the world's cheapest home broadband connections alongside other Asian technohubs with today's launch of MyRepublic's 1Gbps plan.

With a monthly fee of $49.99, the cost of each Mbps in MyRepublic's plan is now down to five cents, compared with the previous low of 13.9 cents for each Mbps with SingTel's 500Mbps plan, which costs $69.95 a month.

That makes MyRepublic's plan currently the cheapest 1Gbps connection available in Singapore.

The cost for each Mbps is 2.5 cents in South Korea, three cents in Japan and and 3.5 cents in Hong Kong.

Analysts said MyRepublic's aggressive pricing, which it hopes will nearly double its customer base in two months, could start a price war among Internet service providers (ISPs) here.

Rival ViewQwest last week slashed its 1Gbps plan to $149.90 a month from $499.95. The monthly 1Gbps plan from StarHub sells for $395.90 while M1 charges $399. SingTel does not offer a 1Gbps plan.

Telecommunications consultancy Delta Partners' principal James Ong said: "A price war could now be imminent for the high-speed plans as ISPs try to match one another's offerings to gain market share."

Even telcos that package broadband services with mobile-phone and pay-TV offerings may boost existing offerings to be competitive, he said.

For instance, ISPs may double the speed of their mid-tier plans, typically around the monthly price range of $60 to $80, to 1Gbps.

Forrester telco analyst Clement Teo said MyRepublic's latest plan is "a game changer". "People will sign up because it provides value for money."

Typical download speeds for 1Gbps plans here range from 500Mbps to over 900Mbps.

At these speeds, downloading a 4GB movie from an overseas server, for instance, takes just a few minutes, compared with half an hour on a 150Mbps connection.

Marketing manager Aaron Koh, who said he participates in a lot of conference calls from home, said he wished the new plan was announced before he renewed his broadband contract last week. "Fifty bucks for 1Gbps is very affordable," he said.

MyRepublic chief executive Malcolm Rodrigues told The Straits Times that the firm is passing on the savings it gets on wholesale international bandwidth prices to consumers.

Two-year-old MyRepublic has 15,000 broadband customers here but hopes to attract 10,000 more by March. The ISP also hopes to work with start-ups here to develop future applications which can make full use of the high connection speeds.

To "light the fire", it will offer $25,000 of marketing support as the grand prize when it launches a contest for the best apps next month, he said.