TPG spends SG$23.8m on more Singapore mobile broadband spectrum

The Singaporean comms authority has announced that Singtel has paid SG$563.7 million, StarHub SG$349.6 million, M1 SG$208 million, and TPG SG$23.8 million on mobile broadband spectrum in its auction.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Australian telecommunications provider TPG has announced spending a further SG$23.8 million on acquiring more mobile broadband spectrum in the Singaporean market, winning 2x 5MHz in the 2.5GHz band during the general spectrum auction this week.

"We are very satisfied with the allocation obtained in the new entrant spectrum auction, and are now very pleased to have successfully taken the opportunity to add to our portfolio of spectrum assets in Singapore," TPG CEO David Teoh said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

"The additional 10MHz of spectrum will enable us to further enhance the value of the services we plan to offer to Singapore consumers."

During the general spectrum auction, Singapore's Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) also allocated 4x 10MHz in the 700MHz band, 2x 10MHz in the 900MHz band, and 3x 5MHz in the 2.5GHz band to Singtel for SG$563.7 million; 3x 10MHz in the 700MHz band, 1x 10MHz in the 900MHz band, and 4x 5MHz in the 2.5GHz band to StarHub for SG$349.6 million; and 2x 10MHz in the 700MHz band and 1x 10MHz in the 900MHz band to M1 for SG$208 million.

"The strong interest in the radio spectrum is testament to the mobile network operators' confidence in the mobile market moving forward," IMDA CEO Tan Kiat How said.

"Increasingly, high-speed mobile services will be critical in delivering the next-generation suite of digital services and products to realise Singapore's digital future. Similar to past spectrum auction proceeds, IMDA plans to reinvest the monies received to help our infocomm media companies and workforce develop their capabilities, strengthen digital infrastructure, and ready themselves for the digital economy."

The purchase price is due this month, with the carriers able to use the spectrum to enhance their mobile networks from July. The IMDA has yet to allocate the specific spectrum bands to each winner.

(Image: Screenshot by Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

TPG said the new spectrum allocated would complement the spectrum it acquired during the new entrant auction at the end of last year, when it was successful in procuring 2x 5MHz in the 900MHz spectrum band and 8x 5MHz in the 2.3GHz spectrum band for a total of SG$105 million -- far above the SG$35 million reserve price.

The spectrum buy will allow TPG to become the fourth provider in the Singaporean mobile market alongside Singtel, Starhub, and M1.

TPG last month predicted a capital expenditure spend of between SG$200 million and SG$300 million for the rollout of its Singaporean mobile network.

"TPG was the successful bidder in the New Entrant Spectrum Auction in December 2016," the telco said during its financial results presentation.

"Recruitment and network planning activities progressing well. Anticipated network rollout capital expenditure: SG$200-300 million."

TPG added that in the three months since winning the spectrum auction, it has made a "strong start to its mobile network rollout".

TPG is also currently fighting to become Australia's fourth mobile telecommunications provider alongside Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone Australia via the acquisition of the remaining 700MHz mobile broadband spectrum during the ACMA's auction this month.

The Australian mobile broadband spectrum will be auctioned off in two lots: One lot of 2x 10MHz in the 738-748MHz frequency range paired with 793-803MHz; and one lot of 2x 5MHz in the 733-738MHz paired with 788-793MHz, with bids starting at AU$571.8 million and AU$285.9 million, respectively.

TPG has previously denied reports that it is similarly considering entering the New Zealand mobile market via an acquisition of New Zealand's third-largest mobile telco, 2degrees, however.

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