MyRepublic targets $178m funding round ahead of Singapore telecom bids

Visual of MyRepublic Singapore homepage. February 2016.

Singapore-based telco MyRepublic expects to complete a $178-million funding round by April 2016 ahead of Singapore auctioning licenses for a fourth mobile operator. The city state’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) had unveiled rules for auctioning airwaves to select the fourth mobile player  yesterday (February 18).

The move to raise capital is also aligned to its plans of conducting an initial public offering (IPO) in the next 24-36 months, according to a Morgan Stanley report.

MyRepublic also plans to roll out a next-generation “pre-5G network” which will make adapting to future 5G standards simpler.

So far, only two local firms – fibre broadband services provider MyRepublic, and an arm of Consistel – have publicly expressed interest to bid for permits to become the fourth operator in Singapore.

On Thursday, the IDA has that said the auction will be held in two stages, and the first phase will be open only to new entrants bidding to become the fourth operator in the city state. In the second stage, the airwaves auction will be open to both existing players (M1, Singtel Mobile and StarHub Mobile), as well as the new entrant who bagged frequencies in the earlier bidding process.

To secure spectrum space, MyRepublic will have to pay out at least S$35 million ($21.4 million), reduced from a  previously proposed S$40 million reserve price. According to the IDA, this reduction reflected a change in the spectrum bundle. Should MyRepublic fail to secure a telecoms licence, the spectrum will be reallocated to the next phase and auctioned to existing market players.

MyRepublic’s communications manager, Fabian Lau, explained: “Our planned network infrastructure will have a next-generation, fully virtualized core network. This is in contrast to older telco networks, which are hardware-based and where every function would require a specialized piece of hardware.”

This would see it replacing costly physical equipment with virtual machines operating on servers, saving costs while enabling greater efficiency such as implementing Internet of Things (IoT)-related services.

Also Read: MyRepublic raises $16m, aims to become Singapore’s 4th telco

Expected to shake up the telecoms market in Singapore, market leader Singapore Telecom (SingTel) has expressed concern over a possibility of a ‘price war’ and declining service standards.

MyRepublic started 2015 with 30,000 broadband subscribers in Singapore and claimed to have acquired over 90,000 subscribers across three markets; Singapore (50,000),  New Zealand, and Australia, where it maintains a presence.

According to a Morgan Stanley report, it expects to reach 300,000 subscribers by the end of 2016 and projects breaking even upon capturing 5 per cent of Singapore’s market share. Morgan Stanley reported that Singapore’s broad market is gaining scale, with 30,000 residential and 2000 business subscribers, which gives it a market share estimated at 5 per cent of the fibre broadband market.

This is an increase from an estimated 3 per cent at the beginning of 2014 and implies a 10-12 per cent share of “incremental” growth in fiber broadband in 2014, being comparable to M1 but lagging behind Singtel and StarHub at this point.

With its aim to de-commoditise the broadband connection service, rather than functioning as a low-cost provider, CEO Malcolm Rodrigues disclosed to Morgan Stanley that in terms of average revenue per user (ARPU), it was higher than M1’s, estimated at S$46/mth as of December 2014.

MyRepublic maintains a strong interest in NBN (next-generation broadband networks), however it is keen on exploring non-NBN markets, given the prospects presented by emerging market states that have not adopted NBN infrastructure. MyRepublic is focusing on providing fast connectivity in dense areas, while relying on existing infrastructure to provide nationwide connectivity.

MyRepublic expects Indonesia to be a key contributor to its non-NBN subscriber base, in addition to New Zealand and Australia as immediate focus markets. Within the New Zealand market, MyRepublic is targeting a 5 per cent market share. It entered it six months ago and to date has claimed a client base of 1000 subscribers, with minimal marketing expenses. It is already being seen as a threat to telecoms incumbent Telstra.

Also Read: SMRT won’t exercise option to invest S$34.5m in OMG

SMRT & OMG team up to bid for Singapore’s 4th telco licence

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.