M1 pays $17.2M for mobile airwaves

Singapore mobile operator forks out 54 times more than reserve price to bag additional 1800MHz band mobile airwaves to meet growing industry demands.
Written by Jason Ng, Contributor on

SINGAPORE--M1 has paid S$21.7 million (US$17.2 million) to acquire additional 1800MHz band mobile airwaves after edging out bigger competitors, SingTel and StarHub, in a week-long auction.

The sum is 54 times the reserve price of S$400,000 (US$317,234) set by Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), but the spectrum is expected to help boost network capacity and support better connectivity, noted a report in local newspaper The Straits Times.

Initially reserved for use during major events to boost wireless capacity and equipment testing, the spectrum block was released by the ICT regulator in December last year to meet rising market demand, the report said. The 1800MHz band can be used to deliver voice services to 2G phones as well as data services to 3G and 4G devices.

According to the latest stats from IDA, there are over 7.3 million mobile phone subscribers in the country. M1 has some 1.9 million subscribers.

Noting that spectrum is "a limited resource", company spokesperson Ivan Lim said the operator is investing for future growth and the extra spectrum will benefit travelers roaming on its network.

The Singapore government next year will be putting up for auction 4G spectrum to pave the way for a faster rollout of Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the country. 4G is touted to offer speeds at five to 10 times faster than the existing 3G technology.

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