agsandrew - Fotolia
Singapore internet service provider (ISP) MyRepublic has outlined its ambition to become a regional broadband and mobile service provider as it looks beyond its existing markets for growth.
Speaking at a media briefing, MyRepublic CEO Malcolm Rodrigues said the company plans to expand its footprint in seven new markets, including Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, within the next five years.
Rodrigues said the expansion into the new markets – through joint ventures with local partners or by building its own infrastructure – will be funded by an initial public offering (IPO) either in Singapore, Australia or Hong Kong by the end of 2018.
MyRepublic, known for launching Southeast Asia’s first 1Gbps fibre broadband service at under S$50 (US$36), also operates in three other markets – Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
The company, which has a combined subscriber base of 200,000 in June 2017, is currently profitable in Singapore and Indonesia. It expects to be profitable in Australia by the end of 2018.
Along with its planned expansion, MyRepublic is ramping up its offerings in Singapore, where it is set to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) by riding on an existing telco’s network.
Malcolm Rodrigues, MyRepublic
In 2015, MyRepublic participated in Singapore’s heterogeneous network trial where it deployed small cells on street-side and road-side lamp posts to provide coverage for a larger area.
It is expected to offer service bundles that combine fibre broadband and mobile services in Singapore by as early as October 2017. Rodrigues said the quick roll-out is possible because MyRepublic uses an agile cloud-based internet platform to deliver services.
MyRepublic also plans to deliver mobile and TV services across the region, making it a quad-play provider. Currently, it only offers IPTV services in Indonesia with channel bundles that include content from Fox, BBC, National Geographic and Disney.
“Our whole go-to-market platform is on the cloud, and that means the cost of acquiring and serving customers is also lower,” said Rodrigues, likening MyRepublic to financial technology (fintech) companies that have disrupted the banking industry.
MyRepublic’s expansion plans could address its key disadvantages, highlighted by two Credit Suisse research analysts who noted in 2014 that the company lacks brand awareness and the ability to bundle, though “both these will improve over time”.
Read more about connectivity in ASEAN
- The Indigo submarine cable will provide additional capacity to mitigate disruptions caused by fibre cuts, as well as meet the growing demand for internet services in the region.
- The expansion of 4G and IoT networks in ASEAN and Oceania will lead to a data deluge and drive cellular subscriptions to new levels.
- Mobile internet penetration in Southeast Asia will boost the region’s gross domestic product and increase employment.
- The Singapore government will be waiving the frequency fees for 5G trials in a bid to lower regulatory barriers and encourage the industry to test the next-generation mobile technology.
Rodrigues revealed that MyRepublic is in the midst of securing a new round of funding of S$100m with a valuation of S$550m – in equities and convertible instruments – of which a third will go into customer acquisition activities such as marketing.
The majority of the funds will go into building its own fibre network in Indonesia, a green field market where 15 to 18 million homes can afford fibre broadband at S$30 to S$40 a month, said Rodrigues.
“Today, we have 500,000 homes connected to our network in Indonesia, and we plan to have a million homes by the end of next year,” he added.
Rodrigues, a former StarHub executive, also dispelled rumours that MyRepublic, which lost out to Australia’s TPG in clinching Singapore’s fourth telco licence, was looking to acquire M1, Singapore’s smallest telecoms company, because it does not want to be a traditional telco.
“We’re not a telco, we’re an internet platform, and we compare ourselves to Uber and Airbnb, not Singtel and StarHub,” he said.