MyRepublic plans to launch mobile services in Singapore as early as October

MyRepublic said it will offer "generous mobile data" in Singapore.
MyRepublic said it will offer "generous mobile data" in Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Local fibre broadband operator MyRepublic has not given up its telco dreams despite losing out to Australia-based TPG Telecom in securing the fourth telco licence in Singapore last year.

At a briefing on Thursday (July 6), MyRepublic announced plans to launch mobile services here as early as October this year.

It will be doing so by buying airtime in bulk from one of the existing dominant telcos - Singtel, StarHub and M1 - instead of building its own physical mobile networks.

Such telcos are known as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), a licence MyRepublic received last month (June). One-year-old Circles.Life, which buys airtime in bulk from M1, is one example of an MVNO.

MyRepublic chief executive officer Malcolm Rodrigues said it will offer "generous mobile data" in Singapore.

"We are committed to being disruptive," he said, declining to provide details.

MyRepublic said it received calls from two telcos "days after" TPG won the fourth telco licence. "The objective is make it as difficult as possible for TPG to be successful."

The former StarHub executive would not say which telco it will be partnering with, pending an announcement closer to its mobile services launch.

Meanwhile, StarHub admittedly said it is "in talks with interested parties on MVNO partnerships" but it would not name the parties.

An M1 spokesman said: "We are not in discussion with MyRepublic on any MVNO offer."

Mr Rodrigues also set the record straight on market rumours that MyRepublic was planning to buy M1, saying: "We are not pursuing the sale of M1."

MyRepublic, which started fund-raising in May, hopes to raise $100 million to propel its telco dreams in Singapore and three other markets - Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia - it operates in. Mobile service launches in Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand are planned for next year.

The money will also be used to install optical fibre infrastructure in Indonesia to grow its fibre broadband customer base, which stands at 100,000 subscribers.

In Singapore, MyRepublic has 70,000 fibre broadband subscribers. It hopes to garner a 5-6 per cent market share in Singapore's mobile market in five years.

It also aims to be profitable by the middle of 2018, as an initial public offering (IPO) is planned for the end of 2018. It is evaluating whether to list in Singapore, Hong Kong or Australia.

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

MyRepublic had raised a total of $120 million previously from strategic investors including Brunei's largest telco DST Communications; Sunshine Network, the telecommunications arm of Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas; and French billionaire Xavier Niel, who founded mobile and Internet services provider Free in France.