With wider choices, lower rates and the emergence of new wireless mobile services, more than four in five people in Singapore today subscribe to mobile phone services. This rapid growth of mobile phone usage is fast depleting the current pool of unused mobile phone numbers beginning with '9'...
Singapore, 08 January 2004 | For Immediate Release
Increased Mobile Phone Numbers to Boost Wireless Growth
With wider choices, lower rates and the emergence of new wireless mobile services, more than four in five people in Singapore today subscribe to mobile phone services. This rapid growth of mobile phone usage is fast depleting the current pool of unused mobile phone numbers beginning with '9'. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is gearing up for this continued growth and will issue new phone numbers beginning with digit '8' to mobile phone operators by end March 2004. This new number range will complement the existing mobile phone numbers with prefix '9'.
Announcing this at the Wireless Java Jam 2004 1 event earlier today at Victoria Theatre, IDA's Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Tan Ching Yee highlighted the need to introduce a new number range. Said Mrs Tan, "With new services, like wireless email access, multimedia messaging, even video telephony coming our way, we can expect our existing pool of mobile numbers to run dry."
Today, only 160,000 mobile phone numbers starting with '9' are left. Aside from mobile phone services, numbers starting with '9' are also used for emergency, paging and trunked radio services 2. In Singapore, since the telecommunication market was liberalised in April 2000, mobile phone penetration has increased from 54% (1.7 million subscribers) to the present 83% (3.4 million subscribers). In fact, according to an IDC forecast 3, the number of mobile subscribers in Asia Pacific is set to rise from 421 million in 2003 to 683 million in 2007.
The move to introduce mobile phone numbers with prefix '8' will create 10 million new numbers that IDA will gradually distribute to mobile phone operators (i.e. SingTel Mobile, MobileOne and StarHub Mobile). The respective operators will announce details of when these numbers will be available to their subscribers at a later date.
As the new mobile numbers beginning with '8' will work in the same way as existing numbers beginning with '9', users need not change any settings on their mobile phones or purchase new handsets to support the new mobile phone numbers.
Companies or organisations that use PABX4 systems, Key Telephone Systems5 and multi-line systems6 should check with their vendors if any system reconfiguration is needed to support the mobile numbers starting with '8'.
For a list of vendors supplying such equipment and further information on mobile phone numbers with prefix '8' please refer to the IDA website http://www.ida.gov.sg/idaweb/pnr, under the sections, "Spectrum & Numbering" / "Number Information" / "New Mobile Number Range". For an overview of the history of mobile phones and numbering in Singapore, please see Annex 1 (34.50KB). For a copy of the speech delivered by IDA's CEO at the Wireless Java Jam 2004, please see Annex 2 (41.50KB).
ISSUED BY CORPORATE COMMUNICATION DIVISION
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
Notes to Editors:
1 Wireless Java Jam 2004 is a competition organised by the Java Wireless Competency Centre (JWCC). The event aims to provide an opportunity for students to develop applications for JavaTM-enabled mobile phones and to promote entrepreneurship in the infocomm sector.
2 Trunked radio services are radio communication services in which users share or pool a number of radio channels. Radio frequencies are distributed by the system according to demand and traffic levels. A common example of trunked radio services is wide-area two-way walkie-talkies.
3 IDC (2003), Asia/Pacific Wireless Tracker Services, 1H03, IDC.
4 PABX or Private Automatic Branch Exchange refers to a private telephone switching system, usually located on a customer's premises with an attendant console. It is connected to a common group of lines from one or more central offices to service a number of individual phones. This system is commonly used by hotels, businesses or government offices where users have to dial a unique key, such as '9' to access a local line.
5 Key Telephone System (KTS) are systems in which telephones have multiple buttons permitting users to directly select central office phone lines and intercom lines. KTS systems are generally used in relatively small business environments with about 50 telephones. They usually require relatively unsophisticated functionalities.
6 These are used by firms to make or receive calls on one or more central office lines. These systems are often connected to many lines and hence closely resemble PABX systems.
About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) develops, promotes and regulates info-communications in Singapore, with the aim of establishing Singapore as one of the world's premier infocomm capitals. To nurture an internationally competitive infocomm industry, IDA offers a comprehensive range of programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more information, visit https://www.imda.gov.sg/.
Noraizah Zainal Abidin (Ms)
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)
Fax: (65) 6211 2227
Dulcie Chan (Ms)
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)
DID: (65) 6211 1999 Fax: (65) 6211 2227