2019 Singapore - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 20 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 168

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Singapore’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the Telecoms Infrastructure, mobile, fixed broadband, Digital Media and Digital Economy sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Regional market comparisons
  • Telecoms Maturity Index
  • Data centres and smart Infrastructure;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU;
  • Broadband (FTTH, DSL);
  • Internet of Things, 5G developments
  • Mobile, broadband and mobile broadband forecasts to 2024.

Researcher:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- August 2019 (25th Edition)

Executive Summary

Fibre makes inroads on DSL and cable in the fixed broadband market

Singapore has developed the status of a world leader in telecommunications through the building of a high-quality network and an extremely progressive regulatory environment for the local telecommunications sector.

The Next Generation Broadband Network (NGNBN) roll out and deployment in Singapore has effectively been completed and there continues to be a rapid take-up of fibre-based services.

Singapore has been working to shape itself into what it says will be the world’s first ‘Smart Nation’ where data and analytics play a critical role in its society and economy.

Singapore’s smart nation projects now include smart sensor networks for water and air, smart logistics that enable interoperability standards throughout the supply chain, and smart sensors in the homes of the elderly or chronically ill.

Singapore has developed to become a regional data centre hub for large enterprises across a range of industries. The diversity and number of local and international cloud providers entering Singapore data centres has significantly increased over the last three to five years.

Singtel launched its FutureNow Innovation Centre (FIC) to help enterprises accelerate their digital transformation. The FIC is a key innovation platform, designed to support the Government’s Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) focusing on Singapore’s six key industry clusters.

Singapore’s mobile market has displayed slow growth over the last few years due to a highly mature market. Singapore’s mobile market remains highly competitive and operators have moved to a customer satisfaction and retention phase by offering value-added services as the market has matured. However very slow growth is also predicted over the next five years to 2024, as there is little room for further growth in a highly saturated market.

SingTel’s recent financial performance was one its weakest for more than a decade. It highlights the challenges faced by Southeast Asia’s largest telecoms carrier as rival providers expand in a highly competitive industry.

The government launched its Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN) over a decade ago and the rollout is now essentially complete. It’s based on a combination of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and wireless networks. The NGNBN has continued to form the basis of the government’s broadband strategy and implementation.

Singtel completed the migration of its cable to fibre-based networks for consumers in 2018. StarHub plan to shut off its cable services by 2019.

Slow growth in the fixed broadband market is predicted over the next five years in a mature and saturated market. Optical fibre broadband also has seen strong growth as customers migrate to the NGNBN’s fibre network. xDSL on the other hand has seen a decrease in usage and cable modem broadband also has been experiencing declining subscriber numbers.

Competition is now heating up in Singapore’s mobile market with a fourth provider Australian telco TPG Telecom launching mobile services. By mid-2019. TPG had significantly expanded its free mobile service trial. TPG Telecom won the right to become the city-state’s fourth mobile network operator (MNO). However, MyRepublic has launched its mobile services via an MNVO arrangement in partnership with mobile operator Starhub.

This is likely to see increased pressure on SingTel, Starhub and M1, potentially triggering another price war which is likely to lower ARPUs over the next few years. Over the past few years price wars had broken out in the Singapore mobile data market indicating the heightened market competition that is now evident in a highly mature market.

Singapore saw strong growth in mobile broadband penetration for the past five years, however since then growth has been slow due to a mature and saturated mobile market. The mobile broadband market will be driven by increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as they roll out their 4G and 5G networks and improving tariffs due to strong competition.

The IMDA is backing the deployment of standalone 5G networks which will be capable of delivering a full suite of enterprise 5G capabilities, including network slicing and low latency connections for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments

  • Multimedia content providers are driving strong demand for data centre storage in Singapore.
  • StarHub signed a MoU to co-develop and launch commercial IoT applications/services.
  • The diversity of cloud providers entering Singapore data centres has significantly increased over the last three to five years.
  • Fibre broadband will continue to be the fastest growing fixed broadband segment.
  • Both DSL and cable modem will continue to experience declining subscriber numbers.
  • Data and analytics will play a critical role in Singapore's Smart Nation initiative.
  • Competition is heating up with a fourth provider TPG Telecom launching mobile services.
  • The IMDA is backing the deployment of standalone 5G networks which will be capable of delivering a full suite of enterprise 5G capabilities.
  • SingTel’s recent financial performance was one its weakest for more than a decade.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

SingTel; StarHub, MobileOne (M1), MyRepublic, TPG (Telecom).

Phil Harpur
August 2019

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