2013 Singapore - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Publication Overview

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

  • Key Statistics
  • Markets, Industry Overviews and Analysis
  • Regulatory Environment
  • Major Telecom Operators (Mobile, Fixed, Broadband)
  • Infrastructure, including NBN strategy
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV
  • Broadband (DSL, cable, FttX, wireless)
  • Digital Media

Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- October 2013 (19th Edition)

Executive Summary

Singapore deal that could see SingTel gain control of OpenNet has market rivals ‘up in arms.’

Singapore has developed the status of a world leader in telecommunications through the building of a high quality and extremely progressive regulatory environment for the local telecommunications sector. This dynamic has, in turn, generated a highly competitive telecom market place in the island-state. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), the nation’s telecoms regulator, reports that Singapore’s fixed-line household penetration rate around 100%, many Singaporeans having two fixed telephone services at home. At the same time, its booming mobile market has a highly penetrated that is continuing to grow in subscribers and sophistication. Singapore’s 3G market segment has been on a growth surge over recent years but that is now easing with the advent of 4G. In the meantime 3G had become the ‘normal’ mobile service in the country with around two-thirds of the subscriber base being 3G.

As Singapore’s mobile market continues its expansion, the numbers of broadband access and data services are increasing at an impressive rate. The Residential Wired Broadband Household Penetration Rate, for example, had reached around 104%.

With strong leadership from its government and good support from its telecom service providers, Singapore is both a regional leader and a global player in telecommunications. The island-state certainly generates a positive outlook in its local telecommunications sector. The country has built what is widely seen as a high quality and extremely progressive telecommunications regulatory regime that has, in turn, resulted in a richly competitive market.

At the same time as building its sophisticated telecoms infrastructure, Singapore has successfully promoted itself an IT hub and a place of excellence when it comes to all things to do with IT and telecommunications. The nation is determined to maintain its status and in the process it has been embarking on new and innovative telecom and IT projects.

Although incumbent Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) continues to play a major role in the local telecom sector, liberalisation has seen a significant number of new operators entering the market, helping to exploit the competitive situation. The arrival of strong competition in its own backyard saw SingTel expand offshore and, in what eventually turned out to be a successful strategy, the company has been able to establish a considerable presence in regional markets, including 100% ownership of Optus, the second ranked mobile operator in Australia. Its offshore presence includes subsidiaries in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan and Bangladesh. And through its alliance with Bharti Airtel in India it has further market presence in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Africa. The SingTel group had around 500 million mobile subscribers across its many markets.

With the government pushing to move Singapore into the forefront of IT development, the IDA announced back in 2008 that S$1 billion (US$725 million) had been allocated by the government to support the building and operating of a national optical fibre-based network as part of what was called the Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII); the strategy also included a wireless network. Despite some problems with the rate of roll out, the development of this national network has been proceeding.

NGNBN builder OpenNet reported on a plan to sell the company to CityNet, a subsidiary of SingTel. The deal required the approval of the regulator to proceed. In the meantime, rival companies in the market were reported to be unanimously opposing the plan and had requested the government to reject it on the grounds that it was anti-competitive. They claimed to be expressing the grave concerns within the industry about the proposed acquisition, suggesting that there was ‘the potential of discriminatory treatment and a lack of independence.’

Key highlights

  • Singapore’s overall mobile telephone penetration had passed the 150% mark and was close to 8 million subscribers by 2013;
  • The country’s 3G market continues to be the strongest component of the mobile sector with around two-thirds of all mobile subscribers being 3G;
  • By 2013 the arrival of 4G/LTE was having a big impact on the market, with rapid take up of service;
  • Effectively 100% of Singapore’s households now have some form of high speed broadband internet access;
  • The Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII), Singapore’s large scale project to build an island-wide broadband network, is well underway;
  • While the IDA had initially reported good progress on the roll-out of this network, in 2012 it intervened in the construction process amid growing concerns about slow progress;
  • By mid-2013 there was high demand in the market place for fibre-based broadband services;
  • The IDA continued to maintain that the network will deliver universal coverage on time;
  • In the second half of 2013 a deal was taking shape that could see OpenNet, the company building the NGNBN, being acquired by CityNet, a SingTel subsidiary;
  • Rival operators were vigorously opposing the deal, which needed the IDA’s approval to proceed;
  • Against the trend observed in most other markets around the world, fixed-line telephone services in Singapore remain remarkably resilient with what the IDA describes as effectively all households are connected to the fixed network;
  • Not surprisingly, growth in the fixed network has flattened out. 

Singapore: - key telecom parameters – 2011 - 2013

Category

2011

2012

2013 (e)

Fixed-line services:

 

 

 

Subscribers penetration2

39%

38%

36%

Broadband internet:1

 

 

 

Wireless subscriber penetration2

152%

166%

165%

Mobile services:

 

 

 

Subscriber penetration2

151%

152%

159%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Note: 1includes both fixed and mobile broadband services; 2penetration as percentage of population

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. Key Statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
      • 1.1.1 Background
      • 1.1.2 Economy
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview of Singapore’s telecom market
    • 2.2 Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015)
    • 2.3 Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII)
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 Regulatory authority
    • 3.2 Regulatory developments
      • 3.2.1 Services standards
      • 3.2.2 Service contracts
      • 3.2.3 SingTel fined for service disruptions
      • 3.2.4 Changes to Telecom Competition Code
      • 3.2.5 Consumer protection regulations
      • 3.2.6 Online scams
      • 3.2.7 Do-not-call register
  • 4. Major Operators
    • 4.1 Singapore Telecom (SingTel)
      • 4.1.1 Overview
      • 4.1.2 Corporate structure and subsidiaries
      • 4.1.3 Statistics
      • 4.1.4 SingTel Mobile
      • 4.1.5 Broadband services
      • 4.1.6 IPTV
    • 4.2 StarHub Pte Ltd
      • 4.2.1 Overview
      • 4.2.2 Corporate structure
      • 4.2.3 Operational statistics
      • 4.2.4 Financials
      • 4.2.5 Mobile services
      • 4.2.6 Broadband services
      • 4.2.7 Cable TV services
    • 4.3 MobileOne
      • 4.3.1 Overview
      • 4.3.2 Corporate structure
      • 4.3.3 Operating statistics
      • 4.3.4 Financials
      • 4.3.5 Business strategies
      • 4.3.6 Network development
    • 4.4 Other players
      • 4.4.1 PacNet
      • 4.4.2 Verizon
    • 4.5 New players
      • 4.5.1 MyRepublic
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 National telecom network
      • 5.1.1 Overview
      • 5.1.2 Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC)
    • 5.2 Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII)
    • 5.3 International infrastructure
      • 5.3.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.3.2 Submarine cable systems under construction
      • 5.3.3 Flag Telecom
      • 5.3.4 Satellite networks
    • 5.4 Infrastructure developments
      • 5.4.1 International services
      • 5.4.2 IP networks
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Overview
    • 6.2 Background
    • 6.3 Developments
      • 6.3.1 Cloud computing
      • 6.3.2 Energy rating of data centres
    • 6.4 Broadband and internet statistics
    • 6.5 Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII)
      • 6.5.1 Background
      • 6.5.2 Network company (NetCo)
      • 6.5.3 Operating company (OpCo)
      • 6.5.4 Rollout
      • 6.5.5 Market developments
      • 6.5.6 Analysis – Singapore’s national broadband network
    • 6.6 Broadband service providers
    • 6.7 Broadband technologies
      • 6.7.1 Cable modems
      • 6.7.2 Digital subscriber line (DSL)
      • 6.7.3 Powerline broadband
      • 6.7.4 Fibre-to-the-home (FttH)
      • 6.7.5 Wireless broadband
    • 6.8 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 7. Digital Media / Digital Economy
    • 7.1 Broadcasting market
      • 7.1.1 Overview
      • 7.1.2 Regulatory environment
      • 7.1.3 Regulatory developments
      • 7.1.4 Convergence
      • 7.1.5 Digital TV
      • 7.1.6 Cable and pay TV
      • 7.1.7 Satellite TV
      • 7.1.8 Interactive TV (iTV)
      • 7.1.9 Free-to-air (FTA) TV
      • 7.1.10 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
  • 8. Mobile Communications
    • 8.1 Overview
    • 8.2 Major mobile operators
    • 8.3 Market statistics
    • 8.4 Average revenue per user (ARPU)
    • 8.5 Pricing
    • 8.6 Mobile networks
      • 8.6.1 GSM
      • 8.6.2 Third generation (3G)
      • 8.6.3 High-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA)
      • 8.6.4 Fourth generation (4G) and long-term evolution (LTE)
    • 8.7 Mobile voice services
      • 8.7.1 Prepaid
      • 8.7.2 International roaming
      • 8.7.3 Satellite mobile
    • 8.8 Mobile data services
      • 8.8.1 Short messaging service (SMS)
      • 8.8.2 Payment systems
      • 8.8.3 Smartphones
    • 8.9 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.9.1 Background
      • 8.9.2 Mobile TV
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2013
      • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – June 2013
      • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2012
      • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – July 2013
      • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – July 2013
      • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
      • Table 7 – Singapore’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2014
      • Table 8 – Fixed-line versus mobile growth – subscribers and penetration – 1998 - 2013
      • Table 9 – SingTel – Singapore market – key operational subscriber statistics – 2011; 2013
      • Table 10 – SingTel - mobile subscribers – 1998 - 2013
      • Table 11 – SingTel - 3G mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 12 – SingTel – key operational statistics – March 2013
      • Table 13 – SingTel – ARPU - mobile services – postpaid, prepaid, blended - 2011 - 2013
      • Table 14 – SingTel – ARPU for mobile services – postpaid, prepaid, non-voice – 2003 - 2013
      • Table 15 – SingTel - fixed broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2013
      • Table 16 – SingTel’s mio TV subscribers – 2009 - 2013
      • Table 17 – SingTel’s regional mobile subscribers – 2007 - 2013
      • Table 18 – SingTel’s mobile subscribers by regional markets – March 2013
      • Table 19 – StarHub – key operational statistics – 2010 – 2012
      • Table 20 – StarHub – revenue and proportion of revenue by market segment – 2012
      • Table 21 – StarHub mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 22 – StarHub 3G mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 23 – StarHub – operating revenue and capital expenditure – 2008 - 2012
      • Table 24 – StarHub - key operational statistics – mobile postpaid and prepaid – March 2013
      • Table 25 – StarHub – ARPU for mobile services – postpaid and prepaid – 2003 - 2013
      • Table 26 – StarHub’s fixed broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2013
      • Table 27 – StarHub – ARPU for broadband services – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 28 – StarHub Cable TV subscribers – 1996 - 2013
      • Table 29 – StarHub cable TV ARPU – 2003 - 2013
      • Table 30 – MobileOne subscribers – 1998 - 2013
      • Table 31 – MobileOne 3G subscribers – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 32 – Mobile One – Fixed (fibre) subscribers – 2012 - 2013
      • Table 33 – Mobile One – operating revenue and capital expenditure – 2008 - 2013
      • Table 34 – Mobile One – mobile subscribers, market share and ARPU – March 2013
      • Table 35 – MobileOne – ARPU for mobile services – postpaid and prepaid – 2002 - 2013
      • Table 36 – Mobile One – ARPU - fixed (fibre) services – 2012 - 2013
      • Table 37 – Fixed lines in service and penetration – 1998 - 2013
      • Table 38 – Overview of fixed-line subscribers – June 2013
      • Table 39 – Broadband subscribers – 1999 - 2013
      • Table 40 – Overview of broadband/household subscribers – July 2013
      • Table 41 – Broadband subscribers by sector – July 2013
      • Table 42 – Broadband market share – by major access types – July 2013
      • Table 43 – Overview of internet market – March 2013
      • Table 44 –Internet users – 1996 - 2013
      • Table 45 – Fixed internet subscribers – 1997 - 2013
      • Table 46 – Registered domain names – February 2012
      • Table 47 – Total international internet bandwidth – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 48 – Total optical fibre broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2013
      • Table 49 – Fixed broadband subscribers, annual change, market share by major providers – September 2012
      • Table 50 – Fixed broadband subscribers, annual change, market share by major providers – March 2013
      • Table 51 – Cable modem subscribers – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 52 – DSL subscribers – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 53 – Wireless broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2013
      • Table 54 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2012
      • Table 55 – Broadcasting – homes, subscribers and sector revenue – 1996 - 2012
      • Table 56 – Cable TV subscribers – transition from analogue to digital - 2002 - 2009
      • Table 57 – SingTel’s mio TV subscribers – 2007 - 2013
      • Table 58 – Singapore – mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – March 2013
      • Table 59 – Singapore – mobile operators by share of total mobile market – March 2013
      • Table 60 – Singapore – estimated 3G mobile subscribers by operator – 2011
      • Table 61 –Mobile subscribers - 2G and 3G, prepaid and postpaid – July 2013
      • Table 62 – Mobile subscribers – 1997 - 2013
      • Table 63 – Mobile services revenue – 1993 - 2011
      • Table 64 – Fixed-line versus mobile subscriptions and teledensity – March 2013
      • Table 65 – Fixed-line versus mobile subscriptions and teledensity – June 2013
      • Table 66 – Mobile broadband subscribers –2007 - 2012
      • Table 67 – Overall mobile services ARPU – 2002 - 2012
      • Table 68 - ARPU – postpaid and prepaid by mobile operator – 2012
      • Table 69 – 3G mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2013
      • Table 70 – 4G mobile subscribers – 2013
      • Table 71 – Prepaid subscribers – 1999 - 2013
      • Table 72 – Prepaid vs postpaid – share of 2G market – 2007 - 2012
      • Table 73 –Mobile subscribers – prepaid and postpaid – 2G and 3G – July 2013
      • Table 74 – Total SMS messages per month – 2004 - 2013
      • Chart 1 – Fixed and mobile subscribers – 2001 - 2013
      • Chart 2 - SingTel - Singapore market - key operational subscribers March 2011 and March 2013
      • Chart 3 - SingTel Mobile - ARPU for mobile services - 2003-2013
      • Chart 4 - StarHub - key operational statistics - 2010-2012
      • Chart 5 - StarHub - operating revenue contribution by market - 2012
      • Chart 6 - StarHub - ARPU for mobile services - 2003-2013
      • Chart 7 - MobileOne - ARPU for mobile services - 2002-2013
      • Chart 8 - Fixed lines in service and penetration - 2000-2013
      • Chart 9 - Broadband market share by access type – 2013
      • Chart 10 - Internet users and penetration 2005-2013
      • Chart 11 - Fixed broadband subscribers market share by major providers – March 2013
      • Chart 12 - Wireless broadband subscribers - 2007-2013
      • Chart 13 - Singapore - mobile operators by share of mobile market – March 2013
      • Chart 14 - Mobile subscribers - 2000-2013
      • Chart 15 - Percentage of 2G market - prepaid vs postpaid - 2007-2012
      • Exhibit 1 – A snapshot of the Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) project
      • Exhibit 2 – Key regulatory and liberalisation developments – 2000 - 2013
      • Exhibit 3 – Major shareholders in SingTel – May 2012
      • Exhibit 4 – SingTel’s regional subsidiaries and shareholdings – March 2012
      • Exhibit 5 – Major shareholders in StarHub – February 2012
      • Exhibit 6 – Major shareholders in Mobile One – February 2011
      • Exhibit 7 – International submarine cable systems with landing points in Singapore – 2013
      • Exhibit 8 – Structure of National Broadband Network
      • Exhibit 9 – Licensed satellite broadcasters
      • Exhibit 10 – Third Generation (3G) licensees, spectrum and vendors
      • Exhibit 11 – Self-regulation of content

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