The inaugural Wireless International Advisory Roundtable was convened today in Singapore to provide thought leadership on the future of wireless communications and to plot the strategic directions for ...

Singapore, 19 June 2001 | For Immediate Release

Key Recommendations for the Future of Wireless Communications in Asia

The inaugural Wireless International Advisory Roundtable was convened today in Singapore to provide thought leadership on the future of wireless communications and to plot the strategic directions for the development of the wireless industry in Asia. Conceived under the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's Wired With Wireless programme1, the Roundtable was attended by corporate chiefs of global wireless companies and leading visionaries of the communications revolution. (Annex A contains the list of participants).

The Roundtable discussions today were led by Mr Lim Swee Say, Acting Minister for the Environment and Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology. The exchange of ideas was focused on two main areas - the major wireless trends and developments around the world, and the opportunities and challenges for Asia in the wireless arena.

Worldwide Wireless Trends and Developments  

The Roundtable discussions revolved around a review of the current state of wireless developments, such as iMode in Japan and 3G licensing experiences in Europe. Business models and wireless technology trends were also discussed. The main conclusions were:

  • To develop a common infrastructure platform that would serve as an interface between the mobile networks of various operators and application services of different service providers. Such an infrastructure should be accessible, scalable, and open to all application service developers. As Mr Greg Papadopoulos, Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Sun Microsystems illustrated, "It is important we create this platform, which is so open that it allows developers, and even kids, to innovate and build services on."
  • To allow end-users, and not technology providers, to determine what the end-users want. This means moving away from technology-centric to a customer-centric approach of application development. Mr Jack McCue, Senior Advisor (Former Global Head of Teletech), UBS Warburg shared, "It is not about the technology, but about the end-user and services. The issue is not about identifying the next killer application, but to go back to the human factors that will drive adoption."
  • To find viable business models for deployment of wireless data services. In view of the high licensing costs for 3G in Europe, the Roundtable agreed that it is imperative for mobile operators to re-think how they can create real value for their customers, and in turn, revenue for themselves. Mr Richard Siber, Managing Director, Wireless Communications Consulting Practice, Accenture highlighted, "We need to move away from the notion of per-packet, per-minute billing - which is unable to differentiate the value of the content or the services. We need a revenue model that can make sense of these investments."

The Roundtable concluded Part One of the discussions by noting the immense potential of future wireless developments. Technology alone will not drive wireless adoption. Instead, the focus should be on the value technology creates for end-users. In addition, the Roundtable agreed that the industry needs to find ways to create new customer-centric revenue models that will be sustainable in the long term.

Opportunities and Challenges for Asia

Part Two of the Roundtable discussions focused on how Asia can play a contributing role in global wireless developments. Specifically, the Roundtable discussed the implications of global wireless developments on Asia and possible implementation strategies. The Roundtable observed that despite being a series of micro-markets with digital-divide and cultural-diversity challenges, Asia is still ahead of the US and Europe in terms of wireless developments and adoption. For instance, Japan leads in the early development of applications such as iMode, and China will soon have the largest mobile user base in the world. The main recommendations were:

  • For some cities in Asia to play the early adopter role. This means being a test-bed for innovative applications and infrastructure development. Mr Hiroaki Takeichi, President, Network Systems Group & Member of the Board, Fujitsu Limited, commented that "Singapore is the best place to showcase wireless developments, because of the quick feedback from end users. Such rapid feedback requires highly educated people, a small geographical area, and an English-speaking population". The Roundtable further noted that it is insufficient to be a test-bed alone. Recognising that application developers will be attracted by volume, cities in the early adopter role will also need to collaborate in order to give access to a larger market. For example, such collaboration efforts can leverage on the existing eAsean or Asian IT Belt concepts2.
  • To focus on selected vertical sectors, such as banking, transport, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and logistics. The Roundtable recommended that wireless technologies can transform these sectors, making these leading Asian cities a showcase for wireless applications and services. Added Mr Terry Clontz, CEO of StarHub, "Singapore has an opportunity to take leadership in mobile data, by considering strategic industries such as transportation and consumer banking, where wireless will be relevant."
  • To leverage on a common collaborative framework across mobile operators, in order to realise cost effectiveness and shorter time to market. Ms Sari Baldauf, President, Nokia Networks & Member of the Nokia Group Executive Board, Nokia Networks Oy, emphasised, "It is very important is to have a common service delivery and middleware platform for third party developers to develop applications and services. It is not enough for operators to collaborate. Service providers, manufacturers, and content providers also need to be a part of this collaboration. It is imperative that the standards are openly defined and not proprietary."

The Roundtable agreed that Singapore is an ideal test-bed and showcase for wireless applications and developments due to its unique combination of an English-speaking IT savvy population, high mobile and Internet penetration rates, and a compact size that enables rapid rollout and quick feedback.

Next Steps

Looking forward, the Roundtable suggested that the wireless industry in Singapore should be prepared to take more risks, allowing innovation to take root. Reflecting on the Roundtable's recommendations, Ms Yong Ying-I, CEO of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said, "The discussions at today's Roundtable has validated the general direction Singapore has taken for the wireless industry. On specifics, IDA agrees that greater risk-taking is necessary to move the wireless industry forward, and we will factor this into our existing policy and development frameworks."

Concluding the Roundtable, Mr Lim Swee Say said, "The Roundtable members have provided us with invaluable suggestions and ideas for Singapore's future wireless development. The quality and openness of the discussions has made this meeting a truly unique forum and it is a tremendous start to our thought leadership efforts."


JOINTLY ISSUED BY THE INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE & THE MINISTRY OF MANPOWER

Notes to Editor:

1 The Wired With Wireless programme, launched in October 2000, aims to help propel Singapore forward as a leading Infocomm hub developing the entire wireless value chain-from infrastructure developers to access service providers to content creators and aggregators. It will help to position Singapore as a choice location and launch pad for wireless developments in Asia. Wired With Wireless is a multi-pronged programme that will enable Singapore to have the best-integrated wireline and wireless infrastructure for the seamless delivery of rich multimedia content.

2 e-ASEAN is an ICT action plan to develop competencies within ASEAN to compete in the global information economy. The landmark "e-ASEAN Framework Agreement" was signed at the informal summit meeting in November 2000 by the heads of the states of ASEAN. The Agreement is aimed at promoting co-operation to develop, strengthen and enhance the competitiveness of the ICT sector in ASEAN, to reduce the digital divide within individual ASEAN Member States and amongst ASEAN Member States, to facilitate co-operation between the public and private sectors in realising e-ASEAN; and to liberalise trade in ICT products, ICT services and investments to support the e-ASEAN initiative. The Asian IT belt was a concept first mooted by Mr Goh Chok Tong, Prime Minister of Singapore. It calls for the creation of an Asian IT belt to integrate the Asian economies and leverage IT for empowerment. As the new economy would be driven by regions and by cities to a very large extent, an IT belt will link Asian cities with complementary IT strengths and capabilities.

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:

Dulcie Chan
Senior Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 6211 1999
Fax: +65 6211 2227
Email: dulcie_chan@imda.gov.sg

Jennifer Toh
Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 6211-0508
Fax: +65 6211-2227
Email: jennifer_toh@imda.gov.sg

ANNEX A : LIST OF WIRELESS INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY ROUNDTABLE PARTICIPANTS

ROUNDTABLE MEMBERS

Name Title
Lim Swee Say (Chairman) Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology
Sari Baldauf President, Nokia Networks & Member of the Nokia Group Executive Board, Nokia Networks Oy
Robert Conway Chief Executive Officer, GSM Association
Jack McCue Senior Advisor (Former Global Head of Teletech), UBS Warburg
Greg Papadopoulos Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer Sun Microsystem
Paul Saffo Director , Institute for the Future
Richard Siber Managing Director, Wireless Communications Consulting Practise, Accenture
Pekka Sivonen Chairman of the Board, Founder Digia (Digital Information Architects)
Mr Kjell Sorme President, Ericsson Asia Pacific
Koki Suda Director, International Business Group & Member of the Board, Matsushita Communication Industrial Co., Ltd
Hiroaki Takeichi President, Network Systems Group & Member of the Board, Fujitsu Limited
Jonathan Withers Group Technical Strategy Director, Vodafone Pacific Limited
Yong Ying-I Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Wireless International Advisory Roundtable is supported by the following ROUNDTABLE PARTNERS

Name Title
Lucas Chow Chief Executive Officer, Singtel Mobile
Neil Montefiore Chief Executive Officer, Mobile One
Terry Clontz Chief Executive Officer, Starhub Mobile
Lye Kin Mun Director, Centre for Wireless Communications

LAST UPDATED: 20 MAR 2023