MyRepublic Ups Ante, Offers Free Trial Of 1Gbps Plan

Amid the price war in the high-speed fibre broadband market, three-year-old start-up MyRepublic has upped the ante by offering a free two-month trial of its 1Gbps plan, with no sign-up or cancellation fees.

The Internet service provider (ISP) first made headlines last year by offering its 1Gbps plan at only S$50 a month — a move that prompted other ISPs to slash prices.

MyRepublic chief executive Malcolm Rodrigues said yesterday the company is offering the free trial because it wants to accelerate the adoption of the 1Gbps speed band here.

“Today, technology is interconnected. Having 5 per cent of the population on 1Gbps is good, but not good enough. We plan to push this further,” he said.

Mr James Sullivan, head of APAC telecom research at J P Morgan, noted that such a strategy to gain customers may not necessarily require MyRepublic — which is in the midst of sourcing for funding for expansion — to have deep pockets.

“If a carrier has a choice between giving free services (non-cash), versus straight equipment subsidies, which amounts to cash, they would prefer to give away services,” he said.

At a press briefing yesterday, MyRepublic also spoke about its bid to become the fourth telco here. The company had said in June last year that it has ambitions of joining Singtel, StarHub and M1 as major telcos, and pledged to bring back unlimited mobile data plans if it succeeds in its bid.

MyRepublic reiterated that it will bid for the 4G spectrum in an auction it expects the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) to call by the end of the year.

Responding to media queries, IDA said no dates have been set aside for the next spectrum auction. It added that it is assessing the industry’s feedback regarding the proposed allocation of spectrum for mobile broadband services and options to enhance mobile competition. It will release its decision soon, IDA said.

According to IDA’s website, a tranche of spectrum licences will be expiring on March 31, 2017. An auction will have to be carried out before these licenses expire. The country’s first 4G spectrum auction concluded in June 2013, without any new entrants to the market.

A MyRepublic spokesman said the company, which was set up in 2012, did not take part in the inaugural auction because it was not ready then, as it was focused on building up its fibre broadband business.

Mr Yap Yong Teck, MyRepublic’s managing director, said that should his company’s bid succeed this time, it is confident of eventually winning a market share of about 10 per cent. The company is in the midst of looking for Singaporean and foreign partners. Details of its funding model will be unveiled by the third quarter of this year, said Mr Yap.

While many telcos around the world have stopped offering unlimited mobile data plans, Mr Yap was confident that MyRepublic could find a way to viably provide such offerings. “We will look to prioritise our traffic, so people will be able to use (the network) depending on the traffic or application they are using … their speed will slow down, but they will still get unlimited data, and their experience will be relatively still good,” he said.

MyRepublic plans to offer its proposed unlimited data plans for around S$70 to S$80 a month.



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