Singapore's new MVNOs to cause headwinds for telcos

MyRepublic plans to sell MVNO services to its 70,000 fibre broadband subscribers.

Singapore has attracted a slew of start-ups offering mobile services based on the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model, UOB Kay Hian said.

According to a report, MVNO usually targets niche and customised segments. The overall impact of the three new MVNOs could create some headaches and headwinds for the incumbents.

The first MVNO, Circles.Life, launched commercial services hosted by M1 in May 2016. It focuses on SIM-only post-paid mobile services.

It differentiates itself by providing unlimited messaging, voice calls and sending of videos on Whatsapp. It has a user friendly mobile app CirclesCare, which customers can access to modify their service plans.

The second MVNO, Zero Mobile launched commercial services in Dec 2017. It charges $45 a month for unlimited local calls and 6GB of mobile data.

Customers also have to pay a sign-up fee of $18, which covers the costs for postage and SIM cards. Customers get a recurring credit of $9 a month for every referral. Thus, customers get to enjoy free mobile services with five successful referrals.

Finally, MyRepublic, who lost out to TPG Telecom in the race to become the fourth mobile operator, is currently conducting trials and plans to launch MVNO services in Mar 2018.

UOB Kay Hian said it intends to cross-sell to its base of 70,000 fibre broadband subscribers. MyRepublic plans to launch its IPO towards 4Q2018 or 1Q2019. 

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