MyRepublic starts 4G trials as part of bid for fourth telco licence

The MyRepublic trial is limited to 1,000 trial users and confined to areas such as JCube, some public housing blocks and Jurong East bus interchange and MRT train station.
The MyRepublic trial is limited to 1,000 trial users and confined to areas such as JCube, some public housing blocks and Jurong East bus interchange and MRT train station.ST PHOTO: IRENE THAM
A typical small base station mounted on a lamp post.
A typical small base station mounted on a lamp post.ST PHOTO: IRENE THAM

SINGAPORE - Fibre broadband service provider MyRepublic has started its 4G mobile service trials as it makes a play for the fourth telco licence here.

The trial is limited to 1,000 trial users and confined to certain areas such as JCube, some public housing blocks and Jurong East bus interchange and MRT train station.

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has yet to award the fourth telco licence.

What MyRepublic received is a provisional licence to take part in IDA's trial of HetNet, or heterogeneous network, in Jurong Lake District.

HetNet is a new wireless system that lets mobile phone users hop automatically across cellular and Wi-Fi networks to minimise surfing slowdowns or disruptions.

MyRepublic's managing director Yap Yong Teck said the company plans to roll out a nationwide network and start commercial service by end 2017 should the company get the fourth telco licence.

"The entire network is estimated to cost $250 million, comprising macro and micro base stations," Mr Yap said.

This is about a quarter of what it cost telcos in the past as MyRepublic will not be building 2G or 3G capabilities. Its network will be based solely on 4G technologies.

Savings will also come from leasing backhaul fibre links from NetLink Trust, builder of the Singapore government-backed Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN), he said.

Backhaul fibre links connect mobile base stations to the Internet. This is traditionally provided by Singtel, which has a nationwide fibre network.

itham@sph.com.sg