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

Image from SMRT media materials

Singaporean transport operator SMRT has entered an agreement with OMGTEL (OMG) to partner the latter’s bid for the city-state’s fourth wireless telecommunications (telco) carrier licence. OMG is a company incorporated by local tech firm Consistel in October 2014 in order to bid for the licence.

SMRT and OMG will collaborate on providing goods and services, leveraging on SMRT’s extensive media presence and commuter reach as a competitive advantage. According to SMRT, such a transaction will not impact SMRTs financial performance for FY 2015, which ends at the end March 2016

SMRT has also opportunity to invest up to S$34.5 million ($25.6 million) via subscribing to OMG shares. Exercising this option is subject to OMG obtaining the telco licence, satisfactory due diligence on OMG and the execution of definitive agreements between SMRT and OMG. Masoud Bassiri, OMGTEL chairman, stated “OMGTEL believes SMRT will make a significant and strategic contribution to making OMGTEL a success in the years to come.”

An advisory board that includes former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, former Singapore Police Force commissioner and INTERPOL president Khoo Boon Hui, in addition to former deputy CEO of the Media Development Authority (MDA) Michael Yap, have been prepared for acquisition of the license. In addition to the advisory board, OMGTEL has entered into a mobile backhaul services agreement with SP Telecommunications.

Masoud commented “OMGTEL will be a true Singaporean alliance to be of service to all Singaporeans for many years to come. It will build a cutting edge telecommunications network and provide exceptional service to its members, building on many years of knowledge and expertise acquired in Singapore as well as in other countries.”

MyRepublic also has an equal chance to acquire the license as broadband provider MyRepublic, according to Forrester Research analyst Clement Teo. .

Teo explained “Neither side has ever built a full telco network, so in terms of experience, they are both almost zero. OMG will probably get access to the train tunnels, and that might give them better coverage. But right now, it is everybody’s game. It all depends on who can handle the challenges of the industry – such as pricing, talent and IDA’s expectations – better.”

However, more information is required to evaluate the bid, given a deficit of information on who owns and bulds the network, as well as how the plan to differentiate themselves in the oligopolistic market of Singapore. Teo concluded “If they are going to be the cheapest, well, price doesn’t move a lot of people – they will need to have value-add.”

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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.