04 Mar

M1 to be delisted

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s smallest telco, M1, will be delisted from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) after March 18.  This was after local conglomerate Keppel Corporation and media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), through a joint company, bought out Malaysian telecommunications company Axiata Group’s 28.7 per cent stake in M1, giving them majority control.

TODAY looks back at the history of Singapore’s second telco, and the twists and turns that led to its upcoming delisting.

1997 — M1 launches operations in Singapore. Made up of Keppel, SPH, Cable & Wireless and Hong Kong Telecom, the company secures 10 per cent of the market share, or 35,000 subscribers, within its first month.

2000 — Singapore’s third telco, Starhub, enters the telecom market.

2001 — M1 introduces Singapore’s first international roaming pre-paid card.

2002 — M1 becomes a public listed company in December. By then, it had amassed one-third of the market share, which amounted to about one million subscribers, and was valued at between S$1.2 billion and S$1.5 billion, making it the biggest share offering since 1999.  It opened its initial public offering at S$1.25.

2005 — Axiata pays S$260.8 million for a 12.1 per cent stake in M1.

2014 — M1 launches Singapore’s first nationwide 4G network.

2015 — M1 shares hit a high of S$3.99 in March. It also posted a 6.6 per cent rise in its net profit in the first quarter for that year, buoyed by a surge in handset sales.

2016 — The mobile scene in Singapore starts to crowd, with virtual telco Circles.Life launching in May and Australian telco, TPG Telecom, winning the bid to become the fourth telco in Singapore.

That September, Axiata expresses interest in raising its stake in M1 to expand its presence in the region. In an interview with Bloomberg, the chief executive officer of Axiata Jamaludin Ibrahim said: “Strategically, it will be good for us to increase the stake. If the price is right, we will seriously consider it.”

An increased stake in M1 would have allowed Axiata to deepen its foothold in South and South-east Asia. The company owns telco operators in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

2017 — With M1’s shares almost halving in value since 2015 as a result of increased competition in the market, Reuters reports in April that M1’s shareholders — SPH, Keppel and Axiata — have approached China Mobile to sell their majority stake in the company.

There were also media reports that Chinese companies Shanxi Meijin Energy and China Broadband Capital were preparing to make separate bids for M1. However, none of the deals materialised.

June 2018 — Local internet service provider MyRepublic enters the telecom space as a virtual telco. Check out MyRepublic mobile plans here!

2018 — By September, M1’s share price has dropped by almost 60 per cent since its high in 2015 and in October it reports a 5.5 per cent drop in net profit for the third quarter from the same period a year before.

Analysts point to an increasingly competitive market in Singapore and a saturated market as reasons for M1’s poor business performance.

In September, Keppel and SPH offer to buy shares that they did not already own in M1, saying in a statement that the move was to “arrest the decline in M1 shareholder value through a combination of transformational efforts which are expected to take several years”.

Valuing M1 at S$1.9 billion, SPH and Keppel say that the deal would allow M1 to cooperate further with other Keppel units and allow SPH to provide digital content through M1’s mobile platform.

Dec 2018 — Keppel and SPH announce their “firm intention” to make a voluntary general offer of S$2.06 per share of M1 shares that they do not own.  The cash offer is 26 per cent more than M1’s last price on Sept 21 before the stock was halted from trading.

Jan 2019 — Keppel and SPH launch a voluntary general offer and say that they will not increase the price of the bid “under any circumstances whatsoever”.

Feb 15, 2019 — After Axiata’s acceptance of the offer, Keppel’s chief executive Loh Chin Hua says in a press release that obtaining majority control is the “first step” to enhancing M1’s competitiveness in the telecommunications landscape.

“We are very pleased that we will, together with SPH, be in a position to steer M1 during this critical period in its journey. The increasingly challenging and competitive market conditions in the Singapore telecommunications sector requires M1 to take bold steps to transform.”

Feb 27, 2019 — Keppel and SPH gain 90.15 per cent, or 835.1 million, of M1’s shares.

To be listed on the stock exchange, the total number of shares in a company that is issued to the public must be at least 10 per cent.  With M1 no longer meeting this requirement, it will be delisted from the SGX.

Article first sighted on Today.

21 Jun

MyRepublic Launches Mobile Plans

MyRepublic said during a media briefing that the three plans – Smart, Mega and Xtra – will cost S$35, $55 and $85 a month for 7GB, 12GB and 25GB data, respectively.

The 25GB plan for Xtra subscribers will include 2GB roaming data for seven markets, namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines and Taiwan, said MyRepublic CEO Malcolm Rodrigues.

To check out the plans, go to http://order.fibrebb.sg/mobile

For existing broadband customers, the company is also dangling incentives for them to sign up, if they haven’t done so. They stand to get 3GB more data for the Smart plan, and 8B more for the Mega and Xtra plans.

The mobile plans all come with features like “boundless data”, which will not penalise consumers for busting their data caps with extra charges but will see surfing speeds lowered instead. This was a feature announced when they launched two mobile plans for its existing customer base back in May.

MyRepublic plans 1

MyRepublic’s chief marketing officer Shivendra Singh said during the briefing that this, among other features, are to “ensure we are trustworthy” to the consumer. Unlimited data plans, he elaborated, are “not honest” as they usually come with hidden provisos, but its boundless data plans means “customers don’t need to worry about excess data charges”.

Mr Rodrigues also told Channel NewsAsia on the sidelines that based on customer response following the launch of Uno and Ultimate for “friends of MyRepublic”, feedback has been “good”, particularly for those who have busted their data caps and had their surfing speeds managed.

“It’s like when we drop from 4G to HSPA today. You probably can’t watch a high-definition video, but you can still do stuff like send WhatsApp messages,” he said.

MyRepublic plans 2

These plans will also have 1,000 minutes of talk time and 1,000 SMS text messages, free local delivery of SIM cards and activation, the company said, adding new customers can sign up from Thursday.

Key to the user experience is the MyRepublic mobile app, available for both iOS and Android devices, said Mr Singh. Users will be able to customise their mobile plan, such as signing up for data boosters or roaming packages on the fly, and track their usage from the app.

The intention behind its design is for users to do what they need within three clicks in the app, he added.

These on-the-go provisioning of services are enabled through the company’s “thick MVNO model”, which it said is first of its kind in Singapore.

CEO Rodrigues said it is a “multimillion-dollar network system” that allows it greater control over the delivery of services to customers compared to traditional MVNO arrangements which sees these operators just resell products from the main telco.

This appeared to be similar to rival MVNO Circles.Life’s platform Circles-X. When asked what’s the difference, Mr Singh declined to comment on its competitor’s products.

CONSUMERS TO BENEFIT FROM LOOMING COMPETITION

Analysts Channel NewsAsia spoke to ahead of the launch on Thursday predicted a period of fierce competition in the local telecoms market, with consumers the main beneficiaries.

Mr Shiv Putcha, contributing analyst at IDC, said the Singapore market is not big enough to support four full-fledged telcos and four MVNOs.

“At roughly 8.5 million subscriptions, the Singapore market is already over-penetrated,” Mr Putcha said. “We expect a period of fierce competitive intensity and there will be some clear winners and losers, with the incumbents, especially the smaller ones, likely to cede ground and market share.”

With the pending entrance of fourth telco TPG Telecom, as well as the introduction of new MVNOs in the past year, consumers will “benefit immensely” from lowered prices, higher data bundles and flexible plans, the analyst said.

He also expects to see the telco incumbents – Singtel, StarHub and M1 – make renewed investments on customer experience.

Canalys research analyst Nguyen TuanAnh echoed similar thoughts, saying that consumers will benefit from the rise of MVNOs.

He pointed to similar developments in Japan last year which suggest that full-fledged telcos, while benefiting from leasing spectrum to MVNOs, will also reduce prices to maintain their subscriber base.

These telcos also have more tools than just reducing costs, as they can turn to digital content for growth, the Canalys analyst said

For instance, while they may not match MVNOs in attractive price packages, bundling data with content such as free streaming of Spotify or Netflix for example, is a “great way” for them to remain subscribers and improve revenue.

Source: CNA/zl
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/myrepublic-launches-3-mobile-plans-talks-up-customer-focus-10454664