SINGAPORE (Jan 23): As expected, StarHub and M1 will be making a joint bid for a 5G licence.

“The parties are working towards the 17 February 2020 closing date for 5G proposals,” the two telcos state in a terse two-sentence joint statement on Jan 23.

On Jan 11, the government pushed back the bidding deadline from Jan 21 to Feb 17.

Four 5G licences are up for grabs. However, it is not clear if there will be takers for all these licenses giving how the Singapore mobile market is already way over saturated.

Both StarHub and M1 face significant strain, to pay for both the network and also the licensing fee.

StarHub, in particular, faces the prospect of cutting its dividends further.

Prior to this announcement, StarHub has already indicated its intention to put in a joint bid instead of going it alone.

M1, on the other hand, has been privatised earlier this year by its two major shareholders, Keppel Corp and Singapore Press Holdings.

Singtel, the larger incumbent, is likely to make a solo bid.

TPG, the fourth operator, is still trying to roll out its 4G network island-wide to same level of coverage as the other three.

StarHub closed Jan 23 at $1.49, up 2 cents.

Singtel, on the other hand, closed at $3.34, up 6 cents.