SINGAPORE: MyRepublic on Thursday (Jun 21) unveiled its first commercial mobile services for the Singapore market, which are being positioned as “simple and worry-free” for the consumer.
The Internet company 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.
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’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.
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.