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Two telcos prequalified for Singapore spectrum auction

Two telecommunications providers have been prequalified to take part in an upcoming spectrum auction that will allow one of them to become Singapore's fourth mobile network operator (MNO).18 Nov 2016

MyRepublic and TPG Telecom will now be able to bid in the new entrant spectrum auction (NESA) to be able to provide International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) and 4G services in Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said.

The IMDA reviewed expressions of interest from the two winners and also from a third, airYotta. AirYotta did not fully meet the requirements, and will therefore not be allowed to participate in the NESA, the IMDA said.

Requirements included the prospective bidder satisfying 'fit and proper person' criteria, "particularly whether they have the management skills, competencies and operational experience in deploying and operating a public telecommunication network and in providing retail telecommunication services to consumers and enterprise users", the IMDA said.

The IMDA also looked at whether the prospective entrants had the financial, technical and engineering capabilities required to establish a telecommunication system for the purpose of providing 4G and / or IMT services, it said.

These checks are not an endorsement or approval of the business plans of the companies, the IMDA said.

"The success of the fourth MNO will ultimately depend on how it innovates and competes in the market, and how it invests to keep pace with new technologies in a fast evolving market," it said.

The auction should be completed by the end of this year, the Authority said. It will be followed in early 2017 by the general spectrum auction (GSA) which will be open to Singapore's existing MNOs, M1, Singtel Mobile and StarHub Mobile. The winner of the NESA can also participate in the GSA.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) announced the framework for the mobile spectrum allocation in February, and said that it would encourage the entry of a fourth operator into the market to encourage competition and innovation.

The auction will start at S$35 million ($20 million), the IDA said. Successful bidders will have the right to use the spectrum from as early as April 2017.

Any new entrant will be given until October 2018 to built its network and achieve nationwide outdoor service coverage. Compliance with the IDA's regulations, including quality of service and service resiliency standards, will be imposed "in phases", the authority said.

The IDA merged with Singapore's Media Development Authority in April, to form the IMDA.