The Singaporean broadband disruptor MyRepublic has strengthened its bid to secure the nation’s fourth mobile licence, launching a 4G data trial in the Jurong Lake District area last Thursday. In the two-month live trial, the ISP is allowing 1,000 selected users to test its 4G voice and data services using a free Xiaomi 4 smartphone loaded with a MyRepublic SIM card. Over the course of the eight-week trial they will be required to carry out a series of tasks, including watching YouTube video clips or downloading apps such as Spotify.
As part of the newcomer’s charm offensive, MyRepublic is promising a return to the days when people could browse the web with unlimited data plans – services, it notes, that Singtel, StarHub and M1 stopped providing in 2012 to the dismay of their customers. MyRepublic’s 4G trail is likely to conclude by the year-end, ahead of the upcoming bid for the fourth telco licence which is expected to be awarded by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) in Q1 2016. The ISP, however, will have to fight off bids from at least two rivals – Circles Asia and OMGtel – before it can then proceed to bid for spectrum frequency rights. If successful, MyRepublic will then be able to accelerate its commercial rollout, with a live service going online in late 2017.
It is understood that MyRepublic is differentiating its service by using a higher proportion of small cells than its rivals to ‘allow for better coverage of dead zones, supplement the capacity of the macro base stations and distribute the usage load’. MyRepublic managing director Yap Yong Teck told journalists: ‘Macro base stations are enough to cover [the city-state] but on a second layer we have small cells that increase capacity, which will allow more users [to get] coverage … Small cells are important so that everybody [can] have good experiences.’ In total, 15 base stations will be deployed for the trial, with two macro stations installed in JCube and block 102, and the 13 smaller cells installed on fixtures such as lamp posts, covering JCube and the surroundings, Jurong Block 102, Jurong East Interchange and Jurong East MRT station.