Consistel, a regional wireless network provider planning to bid for Singapore’s fourth mobile licence later this year, reportedly has lined up commitments for as much as $400 million of the nearly $1 billion it aims to raise and expects to secure the remainder this month, according to a report by Maybank Kim Eng.
Consistel is considering a mix of funding options, including loans and issuing equity, the Singapore Business Review reported.
Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) is expected to soon announce the pre-qualification requirements for the spectrum auction planned for Q3.
Consistel, which has provided 3G indoor coverage for the city-states’ mobile operators, appointed an investment banker in March. Consistel chairman Masoud Bassiri said at the time it will “absolutely” join the bidding and plans to inject as much as SGD1.3 billion ($940 million).
Consistel and ISP MyRepublic both have expressed interest in becoming Singapore’s fourth mobile player. But after appointing two international investment banks — Goldman Sachs and DBS Group – in February to raise SGD250 million ($181 million), MyRepublic hasn’t issued any progress reports, the Review said.
MyRepublic CEO Malcolm Rodrigues said that as a new entrant, without legacy systems, it would have a big cost advantage over rivals. He said it will need about SGD300 million ($214 million), less than a third of the conventional infrastructure cost, to build a nationwide 4G network as it can use existing facilities from its internet business. It has about a 5 per cent share of Singapore’s broadband market.
The IDA has taken a number of steps to ease the path for the entry of a fourth mobile operator to boost competition. In February it released a detailed framework for its previously announced spectrum allocation. The regulator lowered the reserve price for the 60MHz of spectrum that will be set aside for a new operator to SGD35 million ($25 million) from SGD40 million and doubled the allocation of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band to 40MHz. In July the IDA proposed setting aside 60MHz out of a total of 225MHz of new spectrum at a lower reserve price in a separate auction to be open only to new entrants.