TELECOM & INTERNET | Staff Reporter, Singapore

What the upcoming spectrum auction holds for M1 and StarHub

The two recently collaborated on a network-sharing scheme.

The four telcos are expected to wage war in the upcoming spectrum auction. According to UOB KayHian, all four telcos have submitted their expression of interest to participate. Ahead of this, M1 and StarHub recently announced their collaboration on intensified network sharing. 

"M1's Management reiterated that the intent stated in its MOU with StarHub was to share both radio access (base stations) and backhaul transmission network. Both companies need to open their books and also iron out the mechanism and framework for sharing. The sharing involves both existing 3G and 4G networks and also a new shared 5G network to be rolled out over the next 18-24 months. Management anticipates a definitive deal could be signed in 4Q17," UOB said.

With this, UOB said the combined demand for spectrum from both M1 and StarHub would be reduced given that both companies are working on sharing of network infrastructure.

"However, management cautioned that each has to bid based on their independent requirements as the network sharing deal has not been concluded yet," the research firm said.

Meanwhile, the new entrant TPG would be imposed with spectrum caps including 40MHz for 700MHz, 20MHz for 900MHz, and a total of 75MHz (global cap for both new entrant spectrum auction and general spectrum auction). UOB said this would mean TPG could bid for another 15MHz of spectrum from the 700MHz and 2500MHz frequency bands.  

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