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TPG eyes fresh routes to Singapore 5G network

TPG eyes fresh routes to Singapore 5G network

Comes as TPG closes in on a mid-year merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia

Credit: Photo by Kirill Petropavlov on Unsplash

TPG’s hopes to build a 5G network in Singapore have met with a snag, after the city-state’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) decided to grant radio frequency spectrum to deploy nationwide 5G networks to two other operators.

The IMDA, which is charged with allocating mobile network radio frequency bandwidth in Singapore, has named Singtel and the Joint-Venture Consortium (JVCo), formed by StarHub and M1, as the winners of its 5G Call for Proposal (CFP), granting them each one of just two 3.5 GHz band licenses in Singapore.

According to the IMDA, Singtel and JVCo will be allocated radio frequency spectrum to deploy nationwide 5G networks. However, other mobile operators can access these network services through a wholesale arrangement, the Authority noted. 

While the decision sweeps TPG’s plans to build out its own 5G network in the Singapore market aside, the IMDA also said it would allocate mmWave spectrum to mobile network operators to deploy localised high-capacity 5G hotspots. 

With this, the Authority said, M1, StarHub, Singtel, TPG Singapore and mobile virtual network operators would be able to offer retail 5G services to end users.

With the 3.5 GHz band licenses handed over to other carriers, TPG said it expects to look at all options for the delivery of 5G services to TPG customers in the future.

However, the telco also conceded that the IMDA had at least put in place requirements for the supply of services by the successful bandwidth licenses to unsuccessful respondents, including TPG. 

The decision comes more than three years after TPG first kicked off its bid to compete in a wireless mobile spectrum auction in Singapore as part of its effort to build out a mobile network of its own in the city-state. 

In September 2016, TPG submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to prequalify for the ‘New Entrant Spectrum Auction’ being carried out by Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

“The auction represents an opportunity to establish innovative and exciting mobile telecommunications products which will support Singapore’s evolving Smart Nation capabilities,” the company said in statement at the time. 

Meanwhile, in Australia, where TPG is headquartered, the company’s proposed merger with mobile operator Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), looks set to be completed by the middle of the year.

Hutchison Telecommunications, which holds 50 per cent of the VHA business, told shareholders on 30 April that the effective date for the merger would be in the first half of 2020. 

It also noted that its ultimate holding company, the Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (CKHH) that, subject to the merger becoming effective, estimates a HK$7.2 billion gain attributable to CKHH’s shareholders arising from the dilution of its attributable interest in VHA from 43.93 per cent to 22.01 per cent.


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