Malcolm Rodrigues, the outspoken CEO of broadband provider-cum-4G-wannabee MyRepublic, has dismissed speculation that his company is struggling to raise funding to support its bid for Singapore’s fourth mobile licence, labelling the rumour a ‘bold-faced lie’. In an interview with online portal TMG, Mr Rodrigues bullishly stated that MyRepublic is ‘on track to meet its bid for the mobility spectrum auction that is expected take place in the third quarter of this year. In fact, the company has already raised more than the half of the SGD250 million [USD186 million] funding it needs to roll out a mobile network’. The CEO’s statement comes just 24 hours after a report in the Today newspaper claimed that ‘no funds have been raised so far’, and expressed reservations over MyRepublic’s fourth network build-out plans, citing as evidence operating losses to date for its broadband services in the city-state as well as in Indonesia and New Zealand. ‘We already have a loan facility that is secured for half of the amount of SGD250 million, so right now we have to finish another SGD120 million’, he said. Rodrigues claims that this portion is all-but ‘in the bag’, suggesting that ‘four different investors have thrown their hat in’ and a decision on the best offer will be reached by end-July. ‘Right now, we are negotiating the four offers before we pick the one that we think is the best,’ he said.
Separately, Mr Rodrigues is also quoted by press as saying that MyRepublic recently turned down an approach by its main rival for the fourth licence, OMGTel, the telecoms arm of local technology firm Consistel. The CEO says he was contacted several months ago but dismissed the proposal over what he terms ‘different ideas’ about the ownership structure of a joint venture partnership, and investment costs. Rodrigues explained the suggested deal as follows: ‘They have a plan that needs SGD1 billion. Also, they said, you take 10%, I take 10%. And we should find an investor to put in 80% … But I don’t want just 10%. Why should we?’ Consistel declined to confirm or deny his statement when asked.