Fourth telco airwave auction to be held as early as October, says IDA

If all goes well, the fourth telco could be rolling out its services as early as April next year (2017).
If all goes well, the fourth telco could be rolling out its services as early as April next year (2017).ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - An airwave auction to determine Singapore's fourth mobile operator will take place as early as October, according to final auction rules published yesterday by the authorities.

Sept 1 has been set as the date for any potential new entrants to submit their application forms, including documents to show they have enough funds. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will take 20 days to look through the documents, and provide one week of training to the potential bidders on how to use the computerised auction system.

If all goes well, the auction will take place in early October, and the fourth telco could be rolling out its services as early as April next year (2017).

In February, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) stood firm on giving the biggest discount on its reserve price to the new entrant despite strong objections from incumbents Singtel, StarHub and M1.

The new kid on the block would be offered 60 MHz worth of mobile frequencies at a discount of 45 per cent, or $35 million. IDA will also reserve a third of all the usable frequencies in the premium 900MHz band for the potential newcomer.

This is a premium band that allows stronger signals with less equipment, and existing telcos have been using it to deliver better indoor coverage.

Two local companies - fibre broadband service provider MyRepublic and a unit of Consistel, which set up the Singapore SportsHub's wireless systems - were eyeing the chance to become the fourth telco here.