Singapore’s second largest wireless operator MobileOne (M1) has announced that it expects earnings to surge in 2006 once its subscribers begin using mobile data services in earnest. Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires, the company’s chief executive Neil Montefiore predicted that customer take-up of 3G services would initially be slow, resulting in single digit revenue growth in 2004 and 2005. The following year, however, he expects to see a return to double figure increases as the take up of 3G services gathers momentum. M1 is planning to commercially launch its 3G network in November this year, having already begun in-house trials of the service. The pilot is expected to be extended to select members of the public in August. In terms of capital expenditure, M1 has allocated SDG100 million for investment in the new network this year, a figure it expects to match in 2005. Last week the company awarded Nokia a contract to supply equipment for the third phase of network rollout.
Singapore is home to three wireless operators, SingTel Mobile, M1 and StarHub. At the end of March 2004 the trio collectively claimed 3.58 million customers, representing a penetration rate of 86%. SingTel Mobile is the largest player, with a 42% share of customers, down from 47% a year earlier. M1 takes second place, with 1.1 million customers and a market share of 31%, just ahead of StarHub with 956,000 customers and 27%; earlier this week StarHub announced the connection of its millionth customer.