|Type||Privately held company|
10 International Business Park, Singapore 609928
|Parent||Keppel Corporation, Singapore Press Holdings Limited|
|Subsidiaries||AsiaPac Distribution Pte Ltd. M1 Net Ltd., M1 Shop Pte Ltd, M1 TeliNet Pte. Ltd., Kliq Pte. Ltd.|
M1 Limited (commonly known as M1; formerly MobileOne) is a Singaporean telecommunications company and one of the four major telcos operating in the country alongside MyRepublic, StarHub and Singtel. M1 was founded in 1994 and traded on the Singapore Exchange from 2002 to 2019. M1 is a subsidiary of the Keppel Corporation and Singapore Press Holdings through their joint venture, Konnectivity.
1994–2002: Early years
M1 was founded as a consortium known as MobileOne in Singapore in 1994. Cable & Wireless plc, Hong Kong Telecom, Keppel Telecommunications, and Singapore Press Holdings all owned stake in the company at its outset. In May 1995, it became the first firm (outside of government-owned Singtel) to acquire a cellular licence and one of three to receive a paging licence from the Telecommunications Authority of Singapore. The company's first CEO, Neil Montefiore, was appointed in 1996.
In January 1997 in the lead-up to the deregulation of the telecommunications industry in Singapore, MobileOne offered a free trial of its cellular service to build market share. On 1 April 1997, MobileOne was officially allowed to conduct business as a mobile phone operator. By June 1998, the company had a valuation of $1 billion (SGD). In 2000, MobileOne launched its own GPRS service, becoming the first telecom company in Singapore to do so. Over the course of 2000 and 2001, MobileOne transferred all of its customers from a CDMA network to a GSM-1800 network.
2002–2009: IPO, ventures into 3G and broadband
MobileOne had its IPO in December 2002 and began trading on the Singapore Exchange under the stock ticker symbol, MONE. In May 2004, M1 introduced POINT, a music recognition service. Later that year, MobileOne enlisted Taiwanese boy band, 5566, to promote the company's prepaid "M Card" in a series of ads. 2004 also saw M1 partner with Google on an image search feature and begin push-to-talk trials with enterprise customers in Singapore.
In February 2005, the company introduced prepaid cards that allowed for free incoming calls. It also launched its consumer 3G services, becoming the first Singapore-based operator to do so. In August 2005, SunShare Investments–a joint venture between Telekom Malaysia and Malaysia's government-run investment arm, Khazanah Nasional–acquired a 12.06% stake in M1 from Great Eastern Telecommunications (a separate joint venture with Cable & Wireless and PCCW as owners). With those shares, SunShare increased its ownership stake in M1 to 17.7%. By March 2006, SunShare's stake had grown again to 27.55%.
In December 2006, MobileOne introduced Singapore's first 3.5G wireless broadband service. Known as M1 Broadband, the service used High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology to achieve internet connection speeds of up to 3.6 Mbit/s. In April 2008, Telekom Malaysia (TM) demerged from one of its mobile and telecom divisions, Axiata. The M1 shares that TM held through its SunShare Investments arm were then diverted to Axiata. In August of that year, the company entered into the fixed broadband sector. M1 Fixed Broadband used StarHub Cable's existing open access network to connect its service. In January 2009, it was announced that Neil Montefiore would step down as CEO of MobileOne. CFO Karen Kooi was named acting CEO before being appointed to the position permanently in April 2009.
In 2009, M1 began offering prepaid 3G broadband service and instituted a mobile handset rental programme called "Take3." In September 2009, M1 acquired Singaporean internet service provider, Qala, with the goal of entering the corporate fixed broadband market. The acquisition of Qala also allowed the company to begin offering ADSL broadband.
2010–2017: Rebrand as M1, introduction of LTE and NB-IoT
In April 2010, MobileOne officially changed its name to M1. In September of that year, M1 became the first Singaporean company to announce a 1 Gbit/s fibre optic internet plan. It also began offering four other internet plans to businesses and consumers. In June 2011, M1 launched the first commercial LTE service in Southeast Asia, with coverage initially centered on the financial district.
In April 2013, M1 announced that it would spend up to $85 million to modernise its mobile networks, as well as to deploy a nationwide 3G radio network on the 900 MHz frequency band. The project was completed by the first quarter of 2014.
In 2015, M1 was named the service provider of the Home Access programme by the Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore, which would see the company offer subsidised rates for broadband internet access to low-income households. In April that year, it began offering Voice over LTE (VoLTE) on its 3G and 4G networks. The following month, M1 acquired a 15% stake in the Oman telecom company, TeO, through its subsidiary, M1 TeliNet. In June 2015, M1 launched a cashless, mobile point of sale service in collaboration with Mastercard, CIMB, and Wirecard. The service allows small businesses to accept credit, debit, and prepaid card payments using their smartphones or tablets. M1 entered into an agreement in July 2015 to host the postpaid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Liberty Wireless, on its network under the brand name Circles Asia. In April 2017, M1's 2G network (along with all other 2G networks in Singapore) was shut down.
2018–present: Keppel, SPH, delisting, and 5G
In February 2019, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and the Keppel Corporation (through their joint venture, Konnectivity Ltd) completed a buyout of Axiata's shares in M1, which totaled 28.7%. Prior to the buyout, SPH held a 13.45% stake in M1 and Keppel had a 19.33% stake. By the following month, Konnectivity held a 94.55% stake in M1 and exercised its right to purchase the remaining shares in the company. It indicated at the time that it would delist M1 from the Singapore Exchange. M1 was officially delisted in April 2019.
In January 2020, it was announced that M1 and fellow telecommunications company, StarHub, would submit a joint bid for one of four 5G licences to be administered by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). The IMDA approved the joint bid along with the solo bid submitted by Singtel in April 2020. M1 will use Nokia's Core platform to build out its 5G network and provide nationwide 5G coverage by 2025.
Products and services
M1 is one of the four major full service communications providers in Singapore. It offers a suite of mobile voice-and-data communication services over its 3G/3.5G/4G/LTE-A network, including international-call services to both mobile- and fixed-line customers. These include SMS, MMS, WAP, GPRS, 3G, 3.5G and 4G. It also offers prepaid mobile services, including prepaid data plans, under its M Card brand. It is one of the operators in Singapore to offer a prepaid 4G service.
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