Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, IDA - Speech Launch of Wireless Mobility Experience Event, Suntec ...

Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, IDA - Speech
Launch of Wireless Mobility Experience Event, Suntec

Singapore, 14 March 2003

Good morning, distinguished guests, partners, members of the media, ladies & gentlemen.


In times like these, we are fortunate in that Singapore is seen to be an early adopter for wireless technologies. It means we have the capacity to innovate and people around the world are interested in what we do with that capacity. John Geirland from said, "If you want to create a real life test bed for wireless innovations, you'd invent a place like Singapore. The Singapore market is smart enough to try new ideas but not too big in case your idea fails."

Singapore, with its English speaking, IT savvy population is an ideal experimental ground for consumers to try out new mobile data services. It is a test-bed for companies to take their new technology ideas into commercial reality.

Environment for collaboration and innovation

A conducive business and technological environment helps innovation to thrive. This environment needs a balance of industry competition and collaboration. This balance is not easy to attain given the fast pace of technological development and high business stakes involved. To achieve this, IDA incentivises the industry and enacts regulations when necessary.

We will probably all agree that competition breeds innovation. In a highly competitive landscape, high tech companies have no choice but to innovate to stay ahead.

The high tech industry is no stranger to collaboration. Companies already use technical standards to interoperate. But collaboration at the business level is harder to accomplish especially across multiple companies. Fortunately, our Singapore wireless companies have already begun to do so.

When our three mobile operators announced in November last year that they offer interoperability for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), Singapore became the first country in the world to have MMS interoperable services. Starhub together with Bluengine and 5G, has also started wireless LAN interoperability trials within Singapore. Soon, wireless LAN users can log in with a single ID and password in any of the wireless LAN hotspots offered by these three providers.

Last week, IDA and Intel launched a partnership to work towards a global standard for seamless interconnectivity between wireless and fixed networks. An interoperability test lab will also be set up to test the viability of these standards. This will be a world's first for such an interoperability initiative involving operators and vendors from across Asia Pacific region and beyond. With the interroaming of different wireless networks across Asia Pacific, you can conveniently connect to the internet wirelessly anywhere you go in this region. We can be proud of Singapore's achievements and contribution to the technological progress in the wireless arena.

Advanced usage of wireless solutions

But you have an important role to play in bringing about a more innovative environment. Without an advanced user community, the industry will be severely hampered in developing advanced innovative solutions.

Are we an advanced wireless user community? Mr John Geirland certainly thought so. With a mobile penetration of 78%, Singapore was ranked by ITU as one of the top ten markets in the world in terms of wireless Internet users as a percentage of mobile users ITU 5th Edition of Asia Pacific Telecommunication Indicators . According to AT Kearny in Cambridge, Singaporeans are one of the highest SMS users in the world.

Without a doubt, wireless technology plays an important part in our lives, changing the way we live, work and play. It has become so pervasive that even charity organisations are incorporating it in their fundraising efforts. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) for instance, was the first charity organisation in the world to launch their SMS donation in 2001 which helped raise S$2.5 million through 500,000 SMS donations. I am heartened to note that the NKF will be launching its first mobile donation drive to incorporate MMS technology next month. The deployment of the latest mobile technologies will definitely inject more fun and interactivity into the act of saving lives!

Test Bed for New Wireless Solutions

With an excellent infrastructure, high literacy rates and high replacement demand for mobile phones "Users here value-conscious, tech- and style-savvy, making country ideal launchpad for new models", Streats 26 February 2003, Singapore has the right ingredients to be a living lab for wireless innovations. On our part, IDA has been working with industry partners to try new wireless possibilities, link the technology providers to real users, and push the edge of innovation. IDA has put in place the Pilots and Trials Hotspots, or PATH, initiative to facilitate testbedding of innovative ideas and solutions. To date, under the PATH initiative, over 60 pilots have been implemented, with a total industry investment of over S$50 million. As a result, over 700 new jobs in the ICT sector were created and 70 new products and services were developed. As part of the initiative, IDA has also initiated a few calls for collaborations (CFC) for mobile payments, mobile workforce and wireless Java.

On Tuesday, IDA released the results and learnings from the Mobile Payment CFC. The CFC has resulted in four out of five trials being commercialized. Consumers can look forward to more m-payment related services from the four consortia, Blink, YW8, Telemoney and Go Virtual. By sharing the results and findings of the trials, we hope that other companies can shorten their learning cycle and time to market. IDA will continue with our efforts to bring together industry players to deliver integrated solutions and offerings to end-users.

I am pleased in fact to announce the latest Smart Airport and Passenger Travel CFC. This is a partnership among IDA, CAAS (Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore), SIR (Singapore Immigration & Registration) and SPF (Singapore Police Force). The CFC aims to bring about more innovative applications for Changi Airport and the traveler. We hope to build a next-generation airport where travelers can have a hassle-free and secure passage; and have mobile travel services that would be available to travelers anytime and anywhere.

Testbed for Creative Wireless Innovations

Last but not least, innovation needs creators, people who come up with new ideas, and borrowing a phrase from Star Trek, "to go where no man has gone before". To spur creative and innovative wireless applications development, IDA is pleased to support the Wireless Challenge. This initiative is organised by SITF Wireless Chapter, together with Cisco Systems, HP Mobile e-Services Bazaar, Siemens and the National Library Board. The Wireless Challenge received an overwhelming response of 129 entries from institutes of higher learning (IHLs) and the industry. Of these, 24 entries ranging from car-pooling, library services, to automated DJ requests, were short-listed as finalists. We will be announcing the winners of Wireless Challenge after this. I hope the efforts put into the competition will not just end here. I would encourage all who have participated to take your applications to the market. You may want to take this opportunity to approach the exhibitors and industry partners already here to help you do that.

Be Mobile & Connected @ Wireless Mobility Experience

Today at this Wireless Mobility Experience, we bring together an array of innovative ideas and showcases. Here, visitors will enjoy a truly connected and mobile experience. Some of the exhibits include mobile services like sending a photo image via MMS, wireless Java games, WLAN & GPRS configuration and paying car park fees with your mobile phones. You can also take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee at our WLAN caf? or SMS a coke.


Therefore to reinforce our position as a happening place for wireless, we need a right environment for innovation, and we need creators and users like you to help drive innovation.

On this note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone here for your support in promoting a wireless lifestyle and hope that you will enjoy yourselves at this event. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023