Singaporean operators sign MoU covering shared radio access, backhaul assets.

StarHub and M1 this week signalled their intention to ramp up their network-sharing activities.

The Singaporean mobile operators on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see them look into how they might share their radio access networks, backhaul infrastructure, and other access network assets. Network traffic will continue to be managed independently by each company.

"Sharing mobile network radio elements with M1, but keeping our individual mobile core networks, will allow StarHub to provide better mobile service…and still be able to differentiate ourselves," said Tan Tong Hai, CEO of StarHub.

"This could lower our operational and capital expenditures for both M1 and StarHub, so that we can run our existing mobile services efficiently, and still be able to invest in future technologies," added M1 CEO Karen Kooi.

Indeed, it will also help StarHub and M1 prepare for increased competition in Singapore.

In mid-December, Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) successfully conducted its new entrant spectrum auction (NESA), facilitating the entry of a new player in the market.

The frequencies were won by Australia-based TPG, which paid S$105 million (€69.7 million) for 20 MHz of 900-MHz spectrum and 40 MHz of 2.3-GHz spectrum.

TPG’s licence becomes effective on 1 April, at which point the company will have 18 months to roll out nationwide, street-level 4G coverage. TPG must provide coverage in road tunnels and in buildings within 30 months, and within 54 months, its network must also cover Singapore’s underground railway lines and stations.