Heated telco wars persist in 2018

Expect a mobile virtual network operator to go live as early as Q1.

The heated competition between telcos is expected to intensify in 2018, as the big three prepare for the entry of TPG Telecom (TPG) and two other mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) into the fray.

According to RHB Research, MyRepublic (MR), which lost out in its bid for a 4G licence to TPG in December 2016, is expected to commercialise its mobile service in Q1, whilst another MVNO that targets the foreign worker segment would likely go live by the end of the first quarter.

The two new MVNOs are to be reportedly hosted by StarHub. They add to the lineup of Circles.Life, which rides of M1's network, and Singtel's Zero Mobile.

Meanwhile, TPG said it has already awarded vendor contracts and is in the implementation phase of its network. This includes site radio network equipment, installation, data centres and core network, and backhaul.

RHB Research said the telco is on track to meet the deadline for nationwide outdoor coverage by the end of 2018. It is expected to offer a pure mobile service in the second half of the year.

"As with MR, we do not rule out a bundled offering (mobile plus broadband) by TPG eventually, leveraging on the next generation national broadband network (NGNBN)," the team added.

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