Singapore's first 4G auction avoids bidding war, no new entrant

No further bidding needed as spectrum demand by the country's 3 telcos perfectly met supply, with their initial offers meeting the reserve price of S$360 million. Plans to attract a new player have also failed.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor on

Singapore's first 4G spectrum auction has been provisionally allocated to all three of the country's telcos as demand did not exceed supply, which meant no further bidding was needed.

All three Singapore telcos were allocated the blocks of airwaves they bid for based on their initial offers, said the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) in a statement. A total of 270 MHz of spectrum in the 1800 MHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum bands was put on the auction block.

  • M1 got 80 MHz of spectrum at S$104 million
  • SingTel got 100 MHz of spectrum at S$136 million
  • StarHub got 90 MHz of spectrum at S$120 million
(credit: IDA)

IDA will next determine the placement of the spectrum lots acquired by bidders. The new spectrum rights will commence on July 2015 for spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band and April 2017 for spectrum in the 1800 MHz band, upon expiration of the existing spectrum rights. 

The winning bidders will be required to provide nationwide street level coverage for 4G by June 30, 2016, and coverage for MRT underground stations and lines, and road tunnels by June 30, 2018.

Leong Keng Thai, deputy chief executive and director-general for telecoms and post at IDA, said: "The successful allocation of spectrum in the auction will give operators more long-term certainty on their spectrum holdings as they continue to deploy 4G services. This will enable the industry to better meet the demands of growing mobile traffic, and ensure that consumers can reap the benefits of quality 4G mobile services well into the future."

The existing 4G licenses were issued in 2011 in an interim decision to allow telcos to deploy 4G systems and services with their existing rights. Since then, all three mobile operators--M1, SingTel and StarHub have introduced LTE services,

At the launch of the tender in January, IDA had set aside 40 MHz of the spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band for any new mobile operator that wished to enter the market. However, this would be opened up if there was no new entrant.

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