2007 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Brunei Darussalam and Singapore

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in telecommunications and digital media markets in Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. Subjects covered include:

  • Key Statistics
  • Market and Industry Overviews
  • Regulatory Environment
  • Major Players (fixed and mobile)
  • Infrastructure
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV
  • Broadband (DSL, cable, FttH, wireless)
  • Convergence and Digital Media

Executive Summary


With strong leadership from the government and good support from its telecom service providers, Singapore continues to maintain its status as a world leader in telecommunications and certainly evokes a positive outlook for its local telecommunications sector. The country has built a high quality and extremely progressive telecommunications regulatory regime that has, in turn, generated a richly competitive market. All restrictions on direct and indirect foreign ownership within the country’s telecom sector have been lifted. In such a progressive market, over 98% of homes have fixed-line telephone connections and about 20% of the population have two telephones at home. Singapore was one of the first countries in the world to have a fully digital telephone network. For more information, see chapter 2.5, page 34.

Although incumbent Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) continues to play a major role in the Singapore telecom sector, liberalisation has seen a host of new operators entering the market, helping exploit the competitive situation. In fact, in the lead up to liberalisation, the government had issued five facilities-based and 29 service-based licences. With strong competition in its domestic market, SingTel took the decision to expand offshore and has successfully established a considerable presence in regional markets, including the ownership of Optus, the second ranked mobile operator in Australia.

Singapore’s mobile sector, despite being considered a mature market, has continued to remain centre stage. Much interest has been on Singapore’s preparation for, and launch of, 3G services. Following a period of hesitancy in the market about the potential of next generation mobile services, the service got off to a slow start. But there was subsequently a strong upsurge in demand, helped by the wider availability of more affordable, high feature handsets. By end-2006, there were 685,000 3G subscribers signed up. Then, in the first quarter of 2007, the 3G subscriber base expanded by a huge 50% to reach just over one million. There was no doubt that 3G was being embraced by the Singaporeans. For more information, see chapter, page 94.

Singapore was the first country in the world to deploy DSL commercially when SingTel launched its service way back in November 1997. It came as some surprise, therefore, when Singapore initially moved slowly on the large-scale adoption of broadband Internet access. Following a major effort to expand its broadband services, however, the country has become a serious player, with more than 65% of Internet households having broadband access by early 2007. It is well positioned for the development and adoption of a full range of triple play and Next Generation (NGN) services. For more information, see chapter, page 67.

The Singapore government continues to vigorously support the country’s ICT sector. In 2006, it launched a 10-year Infocomm Master Plan, labelled the Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015). The plan recognised the importance of what the government calls ‘infocomm’ as a ‘strategic enabler for social and economic growth’ in the island state. Since launch, the government has been aggressively supporting this strategy. In June 2007, the Minister for Information and Communications reported that a number of programs and initiatives had been rolled out collectively by the government and industry in order to implement the iN2015 Master Plan. For more information, see chapter 2.2.3, page 18.

In several global rankings, Singapore has emerged among the top economies. This included Accenture’s e-government survey, which placed Singapore 1st among 22 countries, ahead of Canada and the US. The infocomm sector in Singapore was witnessing an all-time high in revenue growth. Total revenue for the sector hit S$45 billion in 2006, representing a 20% increase on 2005. Out of this total revenue, export accounted for around S$29 billion.


Brunei, as small wealthy nation in South East Asia, made early moves to ensure that it was delivering up to date telecommunications services to its population. The target of 100% digitalisation was achieved in 1995. Telecommunications throughout Brunei are of a high standard and the country ranks well in Asia in terms of penetration and infrastructure. Brunei’s mobile penetration, which stood at a reasonably healthy 32% by end-2001, continued to grow strongly and by early 2007 had hit 109%.

With more than a little encouragement from the government, it is not surprising then that the citizens of Brunei are strong consumers of telecommunications services. Despite this, if the country is to continue to maintain the pace required to be globally competitive, it must further restructure and generally liberalise the local telecom industry. A new regulatory body, the Authority for Info-Communication Technology Industry (AiTi) was established and has been operational since January 2003. The local market continues to be dominated by Jabatan Telekom Brunei (JTB), the incumbent telco that is still a division within the Ministry of Communications. In March 2006, the Department of Economic Planning and Development (DEPD) announced that the corporatisation of JTB had been approved. A step in the right direction; however, much remains to be done in the area of sector reform.

Key highlights

  • Singapore’s overall mobile telephone penetration is now well over the 100% mark and still increasing;
  • After what was looking like a tentative start following launch in 2005, Singapore’s 3G market has taken off and was growing strongly coming into 2007;
  • The number of 3G subscribers in Singapore passed one million in March 2007, comprising almost a quarter of the total mobile subscriber base;
  • More than 65% of Singapore’s households have some form of high speed broadband Internet access;
  • The Singapore government has initiated a huge project to build the Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII), an island-wide broadband network, which is estimated to cost US$1.2 billion;
  • At the same time, the government has announced an ambitious plan called Wireless@SG, aimed at covering most of Singapore island with free wireless Internet access by the end of 2007;
  • Fixed-line telephone services remain remarkably resilient in Singapore with over 99% of households connected to the fixed network;
  • Brunei has a booming mobile market with penetration reaching almost 110% in early 2007.

Singapore - Key telecom parameters - March 2007

Category Subscribers
Fixed-line services:
• Total No. of subscribers 1,853,500
• Annual growth 0%
• Fixed-line penetration (population) 41.3
• Fixed-line penetration (household) 99%
Broadband Internet:
• Total No. of subscribers 795,900
• Annual growth (2006) 20%
• Broadband penetration (population) 18%
• Broadband penetration (household) 65%
Mobile services:
• Total No. of subscribers 4,778,600
• Annual growth 9%
• Total 3G subscribers 1,081,400
• 3G as percentage of total mobile 23%
• Mobile penetration (population) 107%
(Source: BuddeComm)

Key country indicators - Singapore versus Brunei - 2006

Indicator Singapore Brunei
Population 4.4 million 0.38 million
GDP at current prices (e) US$132 billion US$11.4 billion
GDP per capita (e) US$29,900 US$30,300
GDP real growth rate (e) 8% 4%
Mobile penetration 109% 109%
(Source: BuddeComm)

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Table of Contents

1.1Key statistics
1.2Telecommunications market
1.2.1Overview of Brunei Darussalam’s telecom market
1.3Regulatory environment
1.3.1Regulatory authority
1.3.2Telecom sector liberalisation in Brunei Darussalam
1.4Fixed network operators in Brunei Darussalam
1.4.1Jabatan Telekom Brunei (JTB)
1.4.2DST Group
1.5Telecommunications infrastructure
1.5.1National telecom network
1.5.2International infrastructure
1.5.3Infrastructure developments
1.6Broadband and Internet market
1.6.1Internet market
1.6.3Broadband market
1.7Broadcasting market
1.7.1Broadcasting standards
1.7.2Broadcasting Act
1.7.3Radio Television Brunei
1.7.4Kristal TV
1.7.5Satellite TV
1.8Mobile communications
1.8.1Overview of Brunei Darussalam’s mobile market
1.8.2Mobile voice services
2.1Key statistics
2.2Telecommunications market
2.2.1Overview of Singapore’s telecom market
2.2.2Market liberalisation
2.2.3Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015)
2.3Regulatory environment
2.3.1Regulatory authorities
2.3.2Liberalisation licensing framework
2.3.3Ending of SingTel monopoly
2.3.5Numbering regulations
2.3.6Local Leased Circuit (LLC)
2.4Fixed network operators in Singapore
2.4.1Singapore Telecom (SingTel)
2.4.2StarHub Pte Ltd
2.4.3Other players
2.5Telecommunications Infrastructure
2.5.1National telecom network
2.5.2International infrastructure
2.5.3Infrastructure developments
2.6Broadband and Internet market
2.6.1Internet market
2.6.3Broadband market
2.7.1Overview of media convergence
2.7.2Regulatory environment
2.7.3Digital TV
2.8Mobile Communications
2.8.1Overview of Singapore’s mobile market
2.8.2Regulatory issues
2.8.3Mobile technologies
2.8.4Major mobile operators
2.8.5Mobile voice services
2.8.6Mobile data services
Exhibit 1 – Major submarine cables with landing points in Brunei - 2006
Exhibit 2 – Key regulatory and liberalisation moves – 1997 - 2007
Exhibit 3 – International submarine cable systems with Singapore landing - 2006
Exhibit 4 – Licensed satellite broadcasters
Exhibit 5 – Third generation licensees

Table 1 – Country statistics Brunei Darussalam – 2007
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2006
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2006
Table 4 – Mobile statistics – March 2007
Table 5 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 6 – Fixed lines in service – 1990 - 2006
Table 7 – Internet user growth – 1996 - 2006
Table 8 – Internet subscriber growth – 1997 - 2006
Table 9 – Key broadcasting statistics - 2006
Table 10 – Mobile subscriber growth – 1995 - 2007
Table 11 – Mobile subscribers and annual change by operator – March 2007
Table 12 – Prepaid mobile subscribers – 1999 - 2006
Table 13 – Country statistics Singapore – 2007
Table 14 – Telephone network statistics – March 2007
Table 15 – Internet user statistics – March 2007
Table 16 – Broadband statistics – March 2007
Table 17 – Mobile statistics – March 2007
Table 18 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 19 – Fixed-line versus mobile growth – subscribers and penetration – 1998 - 2007
Table 20 - Fixed lines in service - 1998 - 2007
Table 21 – Overview of Internet market – March 2007
Table 22 – Internet users – 1996 - 2006
Table 23 – Internet subscribers – 1997 - 2006
Table 24 – Registered domain names – April 2007
Table 25 – Broadband subscriber growth – 1999 - 2007
Table 26 – Broadband subscribers and household subscribers - March 2007
Table 27 – Overview of broadband access in Singapore - March 2007
Table 28 – Broadband subscribers – by access type and market share – March 2007
Table 29 – Broadband subscribers - major providers and annual change – 2005 - 2006
Table 30 – Cable modem subscribers – 2000 - 2007
Table 31 – DSL subscribers – 2000 - 2007
Table 32 – Key broadcasting statistics - 2006
Table 33 – Broadcasting sector growth – 1996 - 2006
Table 34 – Cable TV subscribers – 2002 - 2006
Table 35 – SCV/StarHub Cable TV subscribers – 1996 - 2007
Table 36 – Fixed-line versus mobile subscriptions and teledensity – March 2007
Table 37 – Mobile market statistics – March 2007
Table 38 – Mobile subscriber growth – 1996 - 2007
Table 39 – Mobile services revenue – 1993 - 2005
Table 40 – 3G mobile subscriber growth – 2005 - 2007
Table 41 – 3G mobile subscribers by operator – March 2007
Table 42 – Mobile subscribers by operator / system and annual growth – March 2007
Table 43 – Mobile operator by market share – March 2007
Table 44 – SingTel mobile subscribers – 1998 - 2007
Table 45 – MobileOne subscribers – 1998 - 2007
Table 46 – StarHub mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2007
Table 47 – 2G prepaid subscribers – 1999 - 2007
Table 48 – Total SMS messages per month – 2004 - 2007

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Annual Publication Profile


Broadband Fixed
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Telecoms Infrastructure

Number of pages 134

Status Archived

Last updated 31 Jul 2007
Update History

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

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