MyRepublic puts out feelers on mobile plans

MyRepublic puts out feelers on mobile plans
Malcolm Rodrigues, CEO of MyRepublic.
PHOTO: MyRepublic

IN A move that baffled the market and seen by some as premature, fourth telco hopeful MyRepublic on Wednesday unveiled its proposed mobile offerings, which included a 2GB mobile data plan for as low as S$6 a month.

It did this even before it won the fourth telco licence - spectrum rights of which will commence earliest in April 2017 - and said the exercise was to register interest and solicit feedback from the public.

Those who registered would be the first in Singapore to be notified when the plans are ready for pre-ordering, it said.

Its proposed mobile plans are:

- A 2GB plan at S$8 a month (excess data to cost S$8 per GB); and

- An unlimited data plan at S$80 a month.

For existing and new MyRepublic broadband customers, their more privileged options are:

- A 2GB plan at S$6 a month (excess data to cost S$8 per GB); and

- An unlimited data plan at S$60 a month.

This comes after MyRepublic promised last year that it would offer unlimited mobile data - potentially surpassing the Big Three telcos in this offering - as "nothing compares to the peace of mind" such a plan will bring.

Asked why it chose to unveil its offerings when it is still early days, MyRepublic said it hopes these proposed plans will provide some insight into the "different approach" it looks at taking should it succeed in its upcoming mobility bid, as well as its "vision to transform the Singapore mobility landscape".

Compared with MyRepublic's proposed S$6-a-month 2GB mobile plan, similar data plans by M1 and StarHub costs S$19.90 a month and that of Singtel S$20 a month.

"We don't believe it is a price war. We're offering more value and features for the price that we've already observed people are comfortable paying," MyRepublic told BT.

Such prices are sustainable too, as MyRepublic will leverage a more cost-effective and future-proof type of network than that used by the incumbents, a predominantly small-cell pre-5G network that will adopt the National Broadband Network as backhaul, it said.

Interestingly, MyRepublic proposed solely data-only mobile plans on Wednesday.

This means that voice services will use data applications, explained the startup.

"We will have our own carrier-grade voice app at launch which will allow subscribers to call fixed lines or mobile numbers as they currently do ... (but still) have the option to use other apps such as Skype or Whatsapp if they prefer."

Voice and SMS services will be available as add-ons, prices of which will be decided in due time, it added.

The startup also revealed to BT that it is "closer" to its US$250 million funding goal for its mobility bid, since the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore in February introduced a spectrum allocation framework to facilitate the entry of a new mobile network operator.

Nomura analyst Sachin Gupta said: "Its all still pretty early to be coming up with price plans. We don't even know if they will meet the pre-qualification criteria, funding plans, rollout timelines, costs etc." He added, however, that MyRepublic is "pretty good" at marketing and capturing mindshare.

"...This could help them assess what sort of market share they can potentially capture or what the economics could be."

On MyRepublic's proposal, M1 said it is "far too premature" to comment at this point, while Singtel declined to comment, instead announcing a new data feature after the market closed on Wednesday.

DataX2, an add-on that allows customers to double their mobile data allowance for S$5.90 nett a month, is part of efforts to expand its data-centric mobile plan offerings following the introduction of its SIM Only Plan last year, said Singtel.

On Wednesday, Singtel shares closed five cents higher at S$3.77, M1 one cent higher at S$2.57, and StarHub unchanged at S$3.39.


This article was first published on March 10, 2016.
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