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MyRepublic named StarHub's first mobile virtual network operator

FIBRE broadband company MyRepublic will now be a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), through a freshly inked partnership with StarHub.

Under the deal announced on Thursday morning, MyRepublic will lease network capacity from StarHub to offer consumer mobile services, although no details on its service plans were immediately available.

The tie-up is the first MVNO agreement for StarHub. Tan Tong Hai, StarHub's former chief executive, had told a briefing in February: "Margin-wise, it will be lower, but if they can grow it and target a particular segment of customers better, then I think it makes sense to have an MVNO strategy as part of an overall mobile strategy." (see amendment note)

Rival telco M1 already plays host to Circles.Life, while Singtel has ZeroMobile and Zero1 riding on its network.

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StarHub chief marketing officer Howie Lau said in a media statement on Thursday: "With this partnership comes the ability for us to offer customers more choices, better address customer segment needs and grow our mobile business amid the evolving landscape."

MyRepublic Singapore managing director Yap Yong Teck added: "Beyond having an excellent mobile network, it's important we work with a mobile network operator partner that's well aligned with us in terms of strategy.

"MyRepublic has resonated with Singapore's younger, more tech-savvy crowd and that is where we will continue with focus with our mobility services."

MyRepublic, which is gunning for an initial public offering by the end of 2018, has long harboured ambitions of making a consumer mobile play. But it lost a spectrum auction for prospective industry entrants in 2016.

The auction's winning bidder, TPG Telecom, is set to arrive in the Singapore market as the fourth full-fledged telco in the second half of 2018.

StarHub is due to announce its first-quarter results after the Thursday market close. It was trading up by S$0.02, or 0.88 per cent, to S$2.30, as at 11.10am.

Amendment note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Tan Tong Hai is the outgoing CEO at StarHub. He in fact stepped down on May 1. The article above has been revised to reflect this.