MyRepublic recruits top investment bankers to help raise USD128m for fourth licence bid

16 Mar 2016

Singaporean broadband provider MyRepublic has turned up the heat in its quest to become a big hitter in the domestic mobile market, by tapping up international investment banks Goldman Sachs and DBS Group Holdings to help it raise SGD250 million (USD128 million) to support its bid to become the city-state’s fourth mobile carrier. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, MyRepublic – which is backed by French billionaire Xavier Niel and Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Group – intends to offer a mobile broadband plan costing as little as SGD8 per month for 2GB of data, should it become the fourth carrier, which at the time of the announcement earlier this month was significantly cheaper than the cheapest plan of SGD20 charged by Singtel (2GB cap), SGD21.45 per month from StarHub (3GB) and SGD30 from M1 (3GB). Since then, however, the three incumbents have rolled out more competitive plans, slashing prices aggressively for the first time since 2012. MyRepublic CEO Malcolm Rodrigues confirmed the appointment of the two investment banks, but was at pains to dismiss talk of anything unusual in the newcomer’s strategy. ‘We don’t believe there’s a price war,’ The Straits Times quotes him as saying. ‘What they’re doing is adding to the monthly bill. This doesn’t change our business plan.’

If it is successful in its bid, MyRepublic will have to beat off competition to secure the fourth licence. OMGTel, a unit of wireless systems firm Consistel, is intent on participating in the upcoming spectrum auction, with the group’s chairman Masoud Bassiri confirming that it will ‘absolutely’ join in the auction and plans to invest up to SGD1.3 billion in the project, via a mixture of debt and equity funding.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that Singapore’s telecoms industry watchdog the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has set the stage for an auction of mobile airwaves in the third quarter of this year, in a move that could see the arrival of a fourth operator in the city-state. In a press release last month, the IDA confirmed its plan to sell off 235MHz of spectrum and has set aside 60MHz of bandwidth in the 900MHz and 2300MHz bands for a new entrant, ahead of a general sale for the incumbents Singapore Telecommunications, M1 and StarHub. The award of licences is expected to follow in April 2017.