Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecoms), IDA Singapore - Statement CommunicAsia 2001 Media Briefing

Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecoms), IDA Singapore - Statement
CommunicAsia 2001 Media Briefing

Singapore, 18 June 2001

1 On behalf of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, I wish all of you a very warm welcome to today's event.

2 Since its inception in 1979, CommunicAsia has evolved into a key infocomm event in Asia. This year's show is seeing record number of exhibitors and visitors. This is heartening to note, particularly in view of current subdued business sentiments and economic uncertainties around the world. Indeed, the participation of the many exhibitors at this year's show reflects the optimism of the infocomm industry and the recognition of the vast business potential to be tapped. There will be challenges ahead but there will also be opportunities for growth and development.

3 And this is what guides our work today at IDA, where we aim to play a catalytic role in developing the infocomm industry here. The objective is to build Singapore into a key global infocomm hub.

4 A major step was taken when we fully liberalised Singapore's telecommunications market in April last year. We recognise that a competitive telecoms market is imperative for Singapore continued economic success. The resulting availability of innovative and cost-competitive telecoms services will add to Singapore's value proposition for international businesses to site here.

5 I am pleased to say that one year after we opened the telecommunications sector to competition, the result is intense competition in the market. Singapore currently has over 25 facilities-based operators (FBOs) and over 200 service-based operators (SBOs). IDD rates have dropped by 60% on average. Also, rapid technological changes and business innovations have created a plethora of new business opportunities, and generated new value-added services. We have seen innovative service providers aggregating partnerships with different telcos, and offering aggressive promotions. Businesses and consumers have both benefited from the liberalisation.

6 Crucial to this success has been IDA's partnership with the industry to develop an effective Competition Code in a very short span of time. The objective is to develop a flexible regulatory framework that would encourage investment in infrastructure and technology and service innovation, and yet ensure that the market competition remains fair and sustainable.

7 In the emerging wireless space, IDA has been actively encouraging the development of innovative products and services. In launching the Wired With Wireless programme, we also look towards closer collaboration between Singapore-based wireless companies and foreign players.

8 For e-commerce, IDA has focused efforts in encouraging brick-and-mortar companies to transform into click-and-mortar companies. And to create the online environment of trust, predictability and certainty, we are encouraging the use of secure e-business infrastructure such as Public Key Infrastructure, and industry self-regulation such as e-business best practices and private-sector accreditation initiatives. Recent survey results show that these efforts are in the right direction. The total value of B2B e-commerce transactions more than doubled from S$40b in 1999 to S$92b in 2000. For B2C e-commerce, transactions saw a five-time increase from S$200m in 1999 to S$1.7b last year. There is also a significant trend of more companies using Singapore as a base to reach overseas customers. Cross border B2B e-commerce increased from S$15b in 1999 to S$40b last year.

9 Our infocomm report card appears robust - and the future for Singapore's infocomms industry is indeed exciting. We at IDA, are extremely excited at the prospect of new opportunities and avenues in the infocomm arena. I am glad that you are here to take part in the myriad of activities this week, and I hope that you will have a fruitful and enjoyable time.

Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023