TPG (Singapore), which submitted a winning bid of SGD105 million (USD76 million) in December 2016 for the right to become the city-state’s fourth mobile network operator (MNO), has revealed more details of its launch plan which will target older people with what it is calling ‘senior-friendly’ phones. According to TPG general manager Richard Tan, as the newcomer looks to take on the established trio of Singtel, StarHub and M1, it will differentiate itself from rivals by focusing on the principle of ‘simplicity’ via only one basic mobile plan. Online portal Vulcan Post notes that TPG’s new plan includes a SIM card, 3GB data and unlimited calls to local numbers, and will be made free to seniors for the first 24 months. Tan believes the older generation – especially those aged 65 and over – is underrepresented in the market and TPG aims to narrow the digital divide at a reasonable cost to older people. ‘As part of the government’s Smart Nation initiative, we want to make sure that the elderly in Singapore are carried alongside Singapore’s drive to transform into a leading economy powered by digital innovation,’ he said, adding that TPG is partnering with an undisclosed phone manufacturer to make senior-friendly handsets.
Tan went on to say that the new fourth MNO has signed up almost 300,000 subscribers – attracted by its free one-year trial service. Whilst no firm dates have been revealed, TPG still hopes to launch commercially ‘later this year’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in July this year TPG vowed to improve its network services ahead of its upcoming commercial launch, after a recent study placed it far behind its established rivals in terms of download speeds and network coverage. The study published by mobile analytics firm Opensignal found that TPG’s average network download speed from February to May was 26.1Mbps, significantly slower than Singtel (42.5Mbps), StarHub (39.5Mbps) and M1 (36.1Mbps). Further, an average upload speed of 5.1Mbps also compared unfavourably with M1 at 13.4Mbps, Singtel (12.7Mbps) and StarHub (12.4Mbps), and TPG users spent 4.5% of the time without a signal – considerably worse than the range of 1.0%-1.6% for the established trio. Tan has explained that TPG is still in its trial phase, has not enabled all network features or completed overall network optimisation, and still faces major challenges to expand its coverage in underground MRT tunnels. ‘Work is currently underway and coverage is being enabled on a tunnel-by-tunnel basis progressively. [We are] focusing on optimising our network to ensure customers get the best experience when TPG launches its services commercially,’ he said.