Singapore's mobile landscape long dominated by three telco operators faces the prospect of a fourth competitor as soon as 2016 – a new order that could shake-up the multi-billion dollar industry, say analysts.
Three-year-old local internet service provider MyRepublic announced last month that it would participate in the next 4G spectrum auction slated for end-2015 or early 2016.
According to market watchers, this marks the first step in securing a foothold in the mobile market as the city-state's fourth telco – joining Singtel, Starhub and M1. If successful, the company could make its entry by end-2016.
Consistel, a Singapore-based wireless software solutions provider, has also expressed interest in becoming the fourth mobile network operator.
"MyRepublic is a credible player in broadband, has a clear vision of a mobile strategy, and has interesting financial support, including [French telecoms billionaire] Xavier Niel,"analysts at New Street Research wrote in a recent note.
"Consistel is a less well-known challenger, but has expertise in DAS [distributed antenna system], and appears to have more access to funding. Both are realistic potential challengers, in our view," they said.
Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has been keen to have more competition in the mobile space; however factors including the high cost of setting up new networks and buying mobile spectrum have made past efforts unsuccessful.