In the bid for lower costs, consumers are increasingly using the Internet and other Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks to make local and international voice calls, together with, or as alternatives to traditional fixed-line ...

Singapore, 14 June 2005 | For Immediate Release

More Consumer Choices and Lower Market Entry Barriers for Telephony Providers

In the bid for lower costs, consumers are increasingly using the Internet and other Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks to make local and international voice calls, together with, or as alternatives to traditional fixed-line telephony. To advance Singapore's development in this market segment, Dr Lee Boon Yang announced today that the Singapore Government will introduce a new policy framework for Internet Protocol (IP) Telephony.

Speaking at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2005 (imbX) Opening Ceremony, Dr Lee said, "IDA will issue licences and phone numbers for the provision of IP telephony services to facilitate the entry of companies interested in offering IP Telephony services in Singapore. We expect growth in IP Telephony to bring about reduced costs in providing telephone services, and in turn, translate to reduced prices and more service choices for businesses and consumers."

IP Telephony is a form of Voice over IP (VoIP) service - a user's voice during a IP telephony call is digitised, carried over public Internet or private IP networks in IP data packets, then de-digitised back into 'voice' at its destination. With IP Telephony, a user can potentially use any broadband Internet access connection to make and receive local or international voice, data and video calls (regardless of location), with a phone number.

IDA Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms), Mr Leong Keng Thai said, "A proper framework that provides phone numbers for VoIP brings convenience to consumers. Other potential benefits for businesses and consumers we expect include lower business costs, flexibility, and innovative service choices."

He added, "IDA's framework will benefit broadband users. Individuals should consider taking up broadband so that they can take advantage of such IP Telephony services that will be available soon."

IP Telephony Framework

Facilities-based operators1 (FBOs) and services-based operators2 (SBOs) can be licensed under the new IP Telephony framework. For the provision of IP Telephony services, FBOs can use 8-digit level "6" numbers. In addition, IDA will issue a new 8-digit number level "3" (i.e. +65 3xxx xxxx) to both FBOs and SBOs.

To encourage adoption in this emerging technology, IDA's framework includes minimal regulatory obligations to address certain public and regulatory concerns. Operators providing IP Telephony services using level '3' numbers, are not required to provide number portability, emergency service connection, directory enquiry and printed directory services, or conform to QoS levels set by IDA. However, operators must provide clear information to their subscribers, for example, whether their service allows access to emergency services and whether it meets the minimum QoS levels set by IDA for local fixed-line services.

FBOs who wish to use 8-digit level "6" numbers (i.e. +65 6xxx xxxx) for IP Telephony services can do so, if they can provide number portability; connection to emergency services; directory enquiry and printed directory services; and, ensure quality-of-service (QoS) levels that are currently required for local fixed-line services. FBOs must also ensure interconnection such that users can receive and make voice calls to fixed-line and mobile subscribers in Singapore. These are similar obligations for current local fixed-line services.

Also, FBOs are only to assign level '6' numbers to users with valid Singapore addresses. This ensures that Singapore's national numbering plan3 resources continue to benefit users in Singapore.

More details on IDA's IP Telephony framework can be found at IDA's website, in the sections "Policy & Regulation", "Consultation Papers".


ISSUED BY CORPORATE & MARKETING COMMUNICATION DIVISION
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

Notes to Editor:

1FBOs refer to operators who deploy and/ or operate any form of telecoms network, systems and/ or facilities. Such deployment is for the purpose of providing telecoms and/or broadcasting services (outside of their own property boundaries) to third parties, who may include other licensed telecoms operators, business customers or the general public.

2SBOs are operators that lease (from an FBO) any telecoms system (including telecoms network elements such as transmission capacity, switching services, ducts and fibre) to provide telecoms services to third parties, or to resell the telecoms services of FBOs.

3Currently, under Singapore's National Numbering Plan, telephone numbers are allocated for the provision of telecoms services, such as fixed-line, mobile or paging services.

Supplementary Information

Please refer to the IDA Media Portal at https://www.imda.gov.sg/ for a backgrounder on "IP Telephony - Module 101". To receive such articles and regular IDA news updates, subscribe to "Infocomm News" at https://www.imda.gov.sg/  -> Subscriptions.

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more news and information, visit https://www.imda.gov.sg/.

For media clarification, please contact:

Cindy Kong
Manager, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: (65) 6211 1997
Fax: (65) 6211 2227
Email: cckong@imda.gov.sg

Dulcie Chan

Assistant Director, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: (65) 6211 1999
Fax: (65) 6211 2227
Email: dulcie_chan@imda.gov.sg

Last updated on: 17 Mar 2023