Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) pre-qualified MyRepublic and TPG Telecom to participate in the planned new entrant spectrum auction next month, while airYotta didn’t make the cut.

MyRepublic and TPG will bid for 60MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz and 2.3GHz bands, with the winner becoming Singapore’s fourth mobile operator.

Following a review of documents submitted in September by the three companies, IMDA said in a statement it is satisfied that both MyRepublic and TPG have met its pre-qualification criteria. “airYotta did not fully meet these requirements and will not be participating in auction.”

airYotta submitted an expression of interest in bidding for the spectrum on the final day applications were accepted.

IMDA noted that its pre-qualification checks “are not an endorsement or approval of the pre-qualified companies’ business plans”.

The IMDA said the auction is the first of a two-stage process to auction spectrum for 4G, or IMT and IMT-Advanced, services. The general spectrum auction, which will be open to the three existing players – M1, Singtel and StarHub – as well as the winner of the new entrant auction, will be held in Q1 of next year.

Singapore’s Infocomms Development Authority (since renamed) in July issued the final rules for the upcoming 4G spectrum auction and set a 1 September deadline for new entrants to submit applications.

The agency 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. A year ago it 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.

Shortly after IMDA issued its announcement, airYotta issued its own statement: “Today airYotta stepped out of the competition to become the fourth telco. While it had very strong and substantial components, airYotta unfortunately did not meet all of the IMDA’s requirements for the bid. However, the spectrum allocation process demonstrated that Singaporeans, the industry, and investors see the need for a more competitive industry, galvanised by the role a data-led telco could play in Singapore’s future.”