Sin­ga­pore's MyRepub­lic eyes profit in three years

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

SIN­GA­PORE: MyRepub­lic Ltd., bid­ding to be­come Sin­ga­pore's fourth mo­bile-phone car­rier, says its lower costs mean it can start with a small sub­scriber base and still be prof­itable within three years of win­ning a li­cense.

The In­ter­net ser­vice provider ex­pects to get at least 250,000 cus­tomers in its first year as a car­rier, should it win a spec­trum auc­tion ex­pected later this year, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Mal­colm Ro­drigues said in an in­ter­view on Mon­day. The com­pany in­tends to build that to a 9 per­cent mar­ket share, or more than 700,000 users, within five years, by of­fer­ing un­lim­ited data plans, he said.

While for­mer mo­nop­oly Sin­ga­pore Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Ltd. has about half of the mo­bile ser­vice mar­ket to it­self, MyRepub­lic ex­pects to have a cost ad­van­tage as a new en­trant in one of Asia's most ex­pen­sive wire­less mar­kets for users. Ro­drigues said MyRepub­lic will need about S$300 mil­lion ($214 mil­lion), less than a third of the con­ven­tional in­fra­struc­ture cost, to build a 4G net­work na­tion­wide as the com­pany will op­er­ate from fa­cil­i­ties al­ready used by its In­ter­net busi­ness.

"We'll have a much faster net­work than the ex­ist­ing play­ers be­cause our net­work will be less dense," Ro­drigues said. "We don't have legacy is­sues, so our op­er­at­ing costs will be lower." MyRepub­lic must first have the win­ning bid at a spec­trum auc­tion where com­pe­ti­tion is ex­pected to in­clude Con­sis­tel, a wire­less soft­ware provider. Sin­ga­pore's govern­ment is seek­ing to in­tro­duce new com­pe­ti­tion to a mar­ket where mo­bile-phone users can pay more than twice as much for data ser­vices than sub­scribers in Hong Kong, South Korea and Thai­land and more than triple that for Aus­tralia, In­dia and In­done­sia. Sing­Tel Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Chua Sock Koong said last month that the en­try of a new op­er­a­tor would drive prices lower and hurt the in­dus­try. MyRepub­lic's Ro­drigues said his com­pany wouldn't start a price war.

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