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MyRepublic: No plans for M1 bid, but mobile services set to launch

SINGAPORE — Local fibre broadband operator MyRepublic has no plans to buy M1 — but it will launch mobile services here by the end of the year.

MyRepublic CEO Malcom Rodrigues. TODAY file photo

MyRepublic CEO Malcom Rodrigues. TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — Local fibre broadband operator MyRepublic has no plans to buy M1 — but it will launch mobile services here by the end of the year. 

Announcing its intentions on Thursday (July 6), the company said it will buy airtime from another telco in Singapore through the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) route.

MyRepublic plans to acquire airtime in bulk from one of the existing dominant telcos — Singtel, StarHub and M1 — without having to create its own mobile network infrastructure. 

Circles.Life, which has tied up with M1, is one such example of an MVNO. 

MyRepublic lost out to Australia-based TPG Telecom in its bid for the fourth telco licence in Singapore last year.

MyRepublic chief executive Malcolm Rodrigues told reporters that the company has already signed up with one of the existing telcos, but declined to reveal which. “We started receiving MVNO offers from all three telcos days after TPG won the fourth telco licence,” he said. 

According to Mr Rodrigues, MyRepublic has “finalised the deal with one of the operators” and will make an announcement soon. 

In response to queries from TODAY, StarHub said that it is “in talks with interested parties on MVNO partnerships”. 

However, M1 denied that it had made an MVNO offer to MyRepublic. “We are also not in discussion with MyRepublic on any MVNO offer,” an M1 spokesperson added. Singtel did not respond by press time. 

EXPANSION PLANS IN ASIA

A MyRepublic spokesperson later clarified that the company had “informal conversations” with industry insiders, “including executives from local telcos” following the spectrum auction last year. 

The spokesperson added: “We did not receive formal MVNO offers or enter into formal partnership discussions with any particular telco during those discussions.”

MyRepublic is also looking to list by the end of next year, in Singapore, Hong Kong or Australia. 

The company wants to have a 5 to 6 per cent market share of the Singapore mobile market in five years.

Mr Rodrigues debunked rumours that the company plans to acquire M1, stating: “We are not buying M1 because we are not a telecom company.” 

“We can build a bigger business than M1 in the region over the next three years. We are growing fast and doubling every year.”

He added that the company aims to expand in to eight markets in the region over the next five years, including Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

MyRepublic already has a market presence in Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. 

“Our low-cost digital-centric approach to acquiring customers is one-third that of a traditional operator and we can enter a new market in 60 days and release new products in three months,” Mr Rodrigues explained. “This allows us to break even at 2 to 3 per cent market share.”

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