SINGAPORE (Dec 14): TPG Telecom has beaten MyRepublic to emerge victorious in the race to become Singapore's fourth mobile operator.

TPG made a winning bid of $105 million in the New Entrant Spectrum Auction (NESA), the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced on Wednesday.

The Australian telecommunications company will be provisionally allocated 60 MHz of spectrum made available in the NESA to provide International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) and IMT-Advanced services such as 4G services.

This comprises 20 MHz in the 900 MHz spectrum band and 40 MHz in the 2.3 GHz spectrum band.

IMDA says the spectrum allocation will only be final when the assignment of the frequencies in the respective bands has been completed after the relevant spectrum fees have been paid.

The new spectrum rights are expected to commence on Apr 1, 2017, at the earliest.

TPG will be required to utilise the allocated spectrum to provide nationwide street level coverage for 4G within 18 months from the start of the new spectrum rights, IMDA says.

Further, TPG must provide road tunnels and in-building service coverage within 30 months from the start of the new spectrum rights, while coverage for MRT underground stations and lines are required to start within 54 months.

“The entry of the new MNO (mobile network operator) is expected to enhance innovation and competition in the mobile market,” IMDA says in its statement on Wednesday.

Only pre-qualified prospective new entrant bidders could bid for the NESA, to facilitate the entry of a new MNO.

TPG and MyRepublic were the two contenders left in the race after airYotta dropped out as it failed to meet all of IMDA’s requirements for the bid.

(See AirYotta backs out of race for Singapore’s 4th telco; two bidders left)

IMDA says it will proceed with the second stage of the auction, the General Spectrum Auction (GSA), which will be open to TPG as well as incumbent telcos M1, Singtel and StarHub.

The regulator says it aims to commence this round of auction in the first quarter of 2017.