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Business

Singapore's telco market heats up with new contender

MyRepublic may launch new mobile services as early as October

Malcolm Rodrigues, CEO and co-founder of MyRepublic

SINGAPORE -- Local fiber broadband operator MyRepublic is planning to launch new mobile services as early as October, as it seeks to strengthen its foothold in the highly competitive telecommunications market.

It will provide mobile services by buying bulk airtime from one of the incumbent telcos -- Singtel, StarHub or M1 -- rather than building its own mobile network infrastructure.

Malcolm Rodrigues, CEO and co-founder of MyRepublic, declined to comment on which company his will be working with. He said that MyRepublic will also launch mobile services from 2018 in other parts of the region, including Australia and Indonesia.

Started in 2011 as an internet service provider, MyRepublic is backed by shareholders including Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas and Xaviel Niel, founder of French telco Free.

The company was expected to be Singapore's 4th telco last year, but lost the bid to Australia's TPG Telecom. TPG was seen as a dark horse after only announcing its intention to join the bidding in September in the same year.

MyRepublic has ambitious plans to grow aggressively in the region. It is aiming for an initial public offering by end 2018 on either the Singapore Exchange, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong or the Australian Securities Exchange.

It also wants to grow its presence from Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand to eight in the region in five years. As of June, it has reached 200,000 broadband subscribers across the region.

Competition is intense among telcos in Singapore's highly saturated market with a close to 150% mobile penetration. A new entrant could trigger a price war through aggressive marketing campaigns and promotional activities, analysts said.

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