Australia TPG Telecom's unit wins bid to become new Singapore telco

PHOTO: Reuters

Australian firm TPG Telco will be Singapore's fourth mobile operator after beating a local internet provider for the licence, the city-state's communications industry regulator announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said TGP put in a S$105 million bid for rights to operate in Singapore's mobile spectrum, where pioneer SingTel remains the dominant player.

TPG edged out internet provider MyRepublic, which held an aggressive marketing campaign that saw members of the public taking part in a user trial in western Singapore.

TPG, the second-largest broadband operator in Australia, has over 1.8 million broadband customers and more than 460,000 mobile users in Australia.

Singapore, a densely populated island of 5.6 million people, has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in Asia, with 8.3 million subscriptions as of September, meaning many consumers have more than one account.

"The entry of the new mobile network operator is expected to enhance innovation and competition in the mobile market," the IMDA said.

Incumbents Singtel, M1 and Starhub have not had any new competitor for close to 15 years and have faced issues with network reliability in recent years.

In 2013, M1 was slapped with a $1.5 million fine for service disruptions that affected some 250,000 customers.

Singtel was fined $400,000 in 2012 after its service was down for more than 20 hours.

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