IDA's policy objective and focus is to ensure that there is full interconnection and access arrangements to enable seamless and transparent access by users of any telecommunication services. Regardless of the telecommunication network the user is directly connected to, users should be able to...Singapore, 31 March 2000 | For Immediate Release
IDA's policy objective and focus is to ensure that there is full interconnection and access arrangements to enable seamless and transparent access by users of any telecommunication services. Regardless of the telecommunication network the user is directly connected to, users should be able to make and receive calls from other users and to choose, access and use the services of other telecommunication service providers.
This issue concerns whether SingTel Mobile (STM) customers can have access to StarHub's IDD 008 service. There are two aspects to this: physical access to the service; and the related issue of billing.
IDA has already mandated physical access for mobile phone services. Therefore, come 1 April 2000 when StarHub commences operations, the physical connections are in place for STM subscribers who wish to make 008 calls. The dispute between the parties relates to the billing arrangement for STM subscribers making 008 calls. There are two mutually exclusive options. One, StarHub can pre-register the STM subscribers and bill them directly for 008 calls. Two, STM can, on behalf of StarHub, bill its subscribers making 008 calls and earn a commission from StarHub for the administrative work and bad debt provision. This is the current resale arrangement between STM and SingTel; and MobileOne and SingTel for SingTel's 001 IDD calls.
Negotiations between the two parties started in October 99. In January 2000, STM decided that it would prefer the resale option, subject to commercial negotiation. In late March 2000, the commercial negotiation broke down between StarHub and STM. STM decided on 28 March 2000 that it was against its commercial interest to proceed with this option. The rejection of the resale option was then conveyed by STM to StarHub on 28 March 2000. StarHub complained to the IDA about STM's sudden and late reversal of position because their operational systems have been geared for the resale option. They will need about three months to adapt their systems for direct billing to STM subscribers.
IDA has been keeping a watching brief on the negotiations between StarHub and STM. While IDA sympathises with StarHub's plight, IDA would not want to use its regulatory powers to enforce agreements relating to commercial matters such as billing. However, at this juncture, it is critical to ensure that consumers can benefit from competition when it is launched on 1 April. Therefore, IDA has on 30 March, directed StarHub and STM to work together to effect an interim measure. IDA has required STM to pass relevant billing information on 008 calls made by their subscribers, to enable StarHub to bill the subscribers directly. This measure will be in place for three months, which is a reasonable time frame for StarHub to effect the necessary changes in their system to bill such calls directly. Both SingTel and StarHub have today acknowledged IDA's directive and will proceed to fully implement IDA's requirements.
The resale-based arrangement has been the approach adopted between the existing mobile operators and SingTel. With the bringing forward of the full liberalisation date to 1 April 2000, and the entry of multiple IDD service providers, a more practical and sustainable approach will be an open access arrangement where the customers of the mobile operators pre-register with the IDD service provider who will then bill them directly. However, if the parties prefer to have resale arrangements, this will be their commercial decision. If they are unable to reach an agreement, they will then effect the open access and pre-registration arrangement.
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, please visit www.imda.gov.sg.
For media clarification, please contact:
Ms Jennifer Toh
Assistant Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: (65) 6211-0508
Fax: (65) 6211-2227