On the 18 February 2016, Singapore’s Infocomm Development Agency (IDA) published its decision on the framework for the allocation of an additional 235 MHz of spectrum. This follows their earlier consultations. Key points are set out below:
Two stage process to encourage market entry by new entrant (4th MNO)
The IDA wants to encourage market entry by a fourth mobile network operator (MNO), so has split the auction into two stages. First, a ‘new entrant’ spectrum auction for 60 MHz (comprising 2x 10 MHz in the 700 band, 2 x 10 MHz in the 900 MHz band and 20Mhz of the 2.3 GHz TDD band ) from which the existing MNOs are excluded, followed by a second auction of the remainder of the spectrum to the incumbent MNOs and new entrant (if any). The reserve price for the new entrant spectrum has been lowered from SGD 40 million to SGD 30 million. The process has been designed to limit market entry to only one additional MNO.
New entrant needs to pre-qualify
Any new entrant needs to pre-qualify for the auction. To pre-qualify a bidder must:
- be an incorporated company;
- not have rolled out or own any nationwide mobile system or network in Singapore; and
- not be an associate of any incumbent MNO and/or of another qualified potential new entrant bidder.
The last condition means that any consortia will need to be formed prior to qualification for bidding.
In addition, pre-qualification will also require bidders to demonstrate:
- their technical capabilities; and
- financial capacity, including a bank guarantee and performance bond.
No other material regulatory assistance for new entrant
Apart from the spectrum allocation and price, there is no other regulatory assistance for the new entrant. The IDA has decided not to mandate wholesale roaming access for the new entrant, and is not proposing to relax any regulatory obligations.
Auction processes defined
The new entrant auction will be a simple ascending round auction, and the second auction a more complex ‘Clock Plus’ format.
The IDA will make available a an information package for potential new entrants which will be available on 3 March. The IDA will issue further auction documents setting out more detail.