TAS noted that SingTel Mobile's (STM) advertisements on 29 January 1999, which publicised their loyalty programme as a permanent scheme, were misleading to the public as the permanent scheme had yet to be ...
Singapore, 11 February 1999 | For Immediate Release
TAS noted that SingTel Mobile's (STM) advertisements on 29 January 1999, which publicised their loyalty programme as a permanent scheme, were misleading to the public as the permanent scheme had yet to be approved by TAS. TAS sought clarification from STM on 1 February 1999. STM has since clarified that the advertised loyalty programme was meant to be a promotional scheme that was earlier approved by TAS, even though it has filed for the scheme to be a permanent one. STM has thus admitted to its mistake of not stating clearly in its advertisement that the loyalty programme was for a limited period till March 2000 and that by this act, it has misled the public. STM has apologised for this mistake and for misleading the public.
TAS has accepted STM's explanation, including the circumstances under which they were compelled to react quickly to competition in order to make the loyalty programme offer on 29 January 1999. Notwithstanding STM's explanation, TAS takes a serious view of STM misleading the public with its advertisements and its press release. In view of this, TAS has issued a warning to STM. TAS has also directed STM to make clear its terms of offer in all future press and promotional advertisements.
With regard to STM's proposal to implement the permanent loyalty programme, TAS has not rejected STM's proposal. The proposal was still awaiting TAS' approval, as some aspects of the scheme were unclear. STM were to revert with more details to address TAS' concerns before TAS could decide whether the scheme could be approved. TAS concerns include whether STM's loyalty programme is predatory, and whether tie-in conditions will be imposed on subscribers to prevent them from switching operators freely. If STM can satisfactorily address TAS' concerns, TAS will allow such a scheme to be marketed to the consumers as permanent. But until it is approved as a permanent scheme, TAS has to ensure that STM does not mislead its consumers by marketing it as a permanent scheme, when it is only approved as a promotion valid till March 2000. STM has in this instance proceeded to launch the loyalty programme as though it is a permanent scheme, despite the fact that the scheme was still pending TAS' approval.
TAS has since received clarification and financial information from STM on its loyalty programme. TAS notes STM's clarification that no tie-in condition will be imposed on the subscribers of the programme. TAS has also determined from the financial information that STM has not adopted any predatory pricing. As TAS is satisfied with STM's clarifications on the permanent loyalty programme, TAS has granted approval to STM to market the loyalty programme as a permanent scheme.
TAS reiterates that it is neither against market competition nor any service schemes that can benefit the public. However, until the market is fully liberalised, TAS needs to ensure that any proposed service schemes are not anti-competitive and consumers are not tied down by any lock-in schemes that prevent them from switching operators.