Singapore’s Info-Communications Development Authority (IDA) has released the framework for its announced spectrum allocation auction. This new framework is expected to ease the entry of a 4th service provider in the country and its emerging market competition.
In the newly launched framework, the regulator lowered the reserve price for the 60MHz of spectrum for a new operator and has increased the allocation of spectrum to 2X. The new reserve price is SGD35 million ($25 million) and the spectrum allocation has increased from 2.3GHz band to 40MHz. This will provide the operator a wide 4G coverage and capability.
“We see the new entrant benefitting from the larger allocation of the coveted 900MHz, compared with the 2x5MHz set aside for each of the three incumbents,” the rating agency Fitch said.
Singapore IDC plans to conduct a new entrant auction as the first stage without the inclusion of the existing players. The general spectrum allocation auction will be held after the new entrant auction, which will have the participation of the three existing players and the new player that emerged from the first auction. A total of 235MHz of spectrum will be made available in the auctions this year.
In the third quarter, IDA will also auction a 700MHz spectrum. Its amount is tentative as its availability depends on the analogue broadcast switch-over to digital TV. The 900MHz spectrum will be available from 1 April 2017. The winner should roll out the complete coverage within a span of 18 months (approx. by October 2018).
Currently, the three players Singtel, M1 and StarHub has 2x15MHz of 900MHz, 2x10MHz and 2x5MHz of spectrums respectively. Singtel is in the best position to face a competition from a new competitor. However, M1 is the most exposed to a new entrant, according to Fitch Ratings.