Week in Review: MyRepublic hits sweet spot with 4th telco bid in Singapore

  • Banking on Smart Nation push and innovative services to win license
  • Yet another report hailing the potential of SEA’s e-Commerce potential

Week in Review: MyRepublic hits sweet spot with 4th telco bid in SingaporeAiming to shake up the cozy telco market in Singapore, the government will soon be giving out a fourth telco licence. And if they are serious about shaking the market and invigorating it with a dose of innovation, they can do no wrong by seriously considering the bid by MyRepublic and its energetic founder/CEO, Malcolm Rodrigues.
 
Rodrigues has straighthened the ship after going through rough waters a few months ago with the media in his home market, Singapore, reporting that the company was running out of money and struggling to raise its next round.
 
It is interesting to note that MyRepublic also introduced a new investor into the company when making the announcement that they had formally submitted their bid. No investment amount was disclosed though.
 
And now Rodrigues is making a very clever play for the fourth telco licence in Singapore by positioning MyRepublic as the pre-5G player in the market focusing on delivering smart services over a network that will be built specifically to cater for an Internet of Things (IoT) world.
 
This hits the Smart Nation aspirations of the Singapore government right in the sweet spot and will give MyRepublic a real advantage over the present three incumbents whose networks and billing systems are built to monetise traditional telco services and business models.
 
I am sure they are trying to adapt to a future reality of new business models where most objects will be connected and ‘talking’ over their networks. I know Maxis is.
 
My recent conversation with its CEO, Morten Lundal is but the most recent example of how incumbents are trying to get ready for an IoT world. Maxis will be investing hundreds of millions in a new IT platform that Lundal expects will help them bridge their legacy billing systems to the new IoT world with its new business models and opportunities.
 
And I fully expect that Rodrigues and MyRepublic will be strong competitors in this space – if they get the opportunity from their regulator.
 
Meanwhile, despite Ensogo pulling out of e-commerce in South-East Asia (SEA), the region’s e-commerce still seems to be strong.  Recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan SEA poised to become one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for e-commerce revenues, exceeding US$25 billion (RM100 billion) by 2020.

Impressively, in 2015, the market earned US$11 billion (RM44 billion) despite several acquisitions, market exits such as Ensogo and Rakuten, and many online retailers struggling to achieve profitability.
 
You can sink your teeth into the highlights of the report here but I think it will take a brave man with a very innovative business model (I have yet to see one) to make e-commerce in SEA viable for common items. Yes, I think niche plays can work, especially where one owns the product.
 
But let me leave you thinking up what that niche will be. Before I sign off, this week’s featured Digerati50 is a legal eagle steeped in tech, Foong Cheng Leong. Enjoy that read and enjoy your weekend with a productive week to follow.

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