MyRepublic eyes slice of mobile market pie

MyRepublic, which started as a fibre broadband provider in 2011, lost out to TPG in its bid to be the fourth telco in 2016.
MyRepublic, which started as a fibre broadband provider in 2011, lost out to TPG in its bid to be the fourth telco in 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

ISP joins fray as virtual telco with monthly plans from $35 for 7GB of high-speed data

A fourth virtual telco has entered the growing mobile space here, with Internet service provider MyRepublic offering consumers three new mobile plans yesterday.

The move comes a month after the company first offered mobile services to its existing broadband customers.

The mobile plans start from $35 for 7GB of monthly high-speed data, followed by a 12GB high-speed data plan for $55 and 25GB for $85.

Users who exceed their monthly data limit will still be able to connect to the Internet, but speeds will slow from 4G speeds to a range of between 384kbps and 1.2Mbps.

Singapore has an average 4G speed of about 44.3Mbps, according to a recent report by independent network coverage checker OpenSignal.

MyRepublic said the slower speed is sufficient for Web surfing or sending messages through apps like WhatsApp, but not enough to stream videos in high definition.

Those who want to add more data on a one-time basis can do so, with prices starting from $3.50 for 500MB. There is also an option for additional recurring monthly high-speed data, which starts from $5 for 1GB.

  • TARGET

  • 5%

    MyRepublic's target market share of mobile users here, according to chief executive Malcolm Rodrigues.

MyRepublic chief executive Malcolm Rodrigues said the company plans to corner 5 per cent of the market share for mobile users here, which translates to about 200,000 users.

"We launched our service a month ago to existing customers and had a really good take-up," he said. "People have switched away from the incumbents to new operators and the door is open for us to take customers."

The company's plans come as the mobile market starts heating up with the planned entry of a fourth full-fledged telco in Singapore. Australia-based company TPG Telecom is expected to arrive in the Singapore market in the coming months.

MyRepublic, which started as a fibre broadband provider in 2011, lost out to TPG in its bid to be the fourth telco in 2016.

MyRepublic's move into the virtual telco space is a "low investment, low-risk but also-low margin business," said analyst Quah Mei Lee, the Asia-Pacific industry principal of telecoms and payments at Frost & Sullivan.

MyRepublic will lease network capacity from StarHub to offer consumer mobile services under a "thick" mobile virtual network operator model, where radio base stations for coverage are set up by StarHub but core network functions are handled by MyRepublic.

This sort of model is the first of its kind in Singapore, said the company. It allows MyRepublic to have greater control over the data services it can offer, such as letting customers purchase data top-ups that kick in immediately.

This is unlike the three other virtual telcos here - Circles.Life, which leases from M1, and Zero1 and Zero Mobile which lease from Singtel - that may not have full control over core network functions.

MyRepublic's mobile plans will all be contract-free, and customers will be able to change their plans any time with no extra charge. Each plan will also come with free caller ID and SIM card activation, along with 1,000 minutes of local talk time and 1,000 free SMSes each month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2018, with the headline 'MyRepublic eyes slice of mobile market pie'. Print Edition | Subscribe