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Singapore telcos take a hit as competition rises

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by December 15, 2016 General

A Singtel logo is pictured at their head office in Singapore February 11, 2016. ― Reuters picA Singtel logo is pictured at their head office in Singapore February 11, 2016. ― Reuters picSINGAPORE, Dec 15 ― Shares in Singapore three telecommunications network operators took a hit today after a unit of Australia’s TPG Telecom made the winning bid of S$105 million (RM326 million) in an airwaves auction that would make it the city-state’s fourth telecoms operator.

During intraday trading, Singtel slid as much as 1.6 per cent, while M1 slipped up to 3.5 per cent. StarHub fell as much as 4.5 per cent.

At 12.30pm, Singtel shares was trading at S$3.72, down 1.06 per cent. M1 was 3 per cent lower at S$1.96 and StarHub was trading at S$2.81, down 3.1 per cent.

In an announcement yesterday, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) said TPG will be provisionally allocated 60MHz of spectrum made available in the New Entrant Spectrum Auction (Nesa), with spectrum rights expected to commence as early as April next year.

Last month, TPG and MyRepublic were shortlisted to take part in the auction, after meeting the Nesa pre-qualification criteria which included having the competency and operational experience to deploy and operate a public telecommunication network. MyRepublic — which had mounted an aggressive public campaign — was unable to top TPG’s offer, putting in a final bid of S$102.5 million.

In response to TODAY’s queries, TPG’s general counsel Tony Moffatt said the firm was “delighted” with the outcome. It plans to start offering services to consumers in early 2018 and to establish a mobile network with nationwide coverage by September the same year.

IMDA said TPG will be required to utilise the allocated spectrum to provide “nationwide street level coverage for 4G” within 18 months from the start of the new spectrum rights. It has to provide road tunnels and in-building service coverage within 30 months, and coverage for MRT underground stations/lines within 54 months. The authority said it will proceed with the second stage of the auction — the General Spectrum Auction, which will be open to the existing telcos — in the first quarter of next year. ― TODAY

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