Be aware of scammers impersonating as IMDA officers and report any suspicious calls to the police. Please note that IMDA officers will never call you nor request for your personal information. For scam-related advice, please call the Anti-Scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to

IDA Increases Competition in International Telecoms Services

Businesses and consumers will soon enjoy a wider range of international telecoms services at more competitive prices. Telecoms operators providing such services will now have greater access to submarine cable capacity that ...

Singapore, 10 September 2004 | For Immediate Release

Telecoms Operators to have More Flexible Access to Submarine Cable Capacity

Businesses and consumers will soon enjoy a wider range of international telecoms services at more competitive prices. Telecoms operators providing such services will now have greater access to submarine cable capacity that land at Singapore Telecommunication Limited's (SingTel) submarine cable landing stations (SCLS). This follows a decision by IDA to enhance competition in the provision of telecoms services, such as international direct dialling (IDD) and international private leased circuits (IPLC). It is in-line with IDA's on-going efforts to ensure its regulatory policies remain relevant with evolving market developments.

Access to the SCLS allows an operator to provide international telecoms services, backhaul services and transit services to businesses or to third parties (e.g. other local or international telecoms operators). Businesses commonly purchase these telecoms services to communicate between their local and international offices. As such, SCLSs are critical telecoms infrastructure and efforts should be made to ensure that SCLSs do not become bottlenecks to telecoms service provision. Access barriers constrain the competitiveness of telecoms operators and are detrimental to the healthy growth of the telecoms market.

Currently, if an operator owns international capacity on a submarine cable at SingTel's SCLS, it can access1 such capacity to offer services to businesses or third parties. This operator cannot access capacity that it does not own in other submarine cables that land at the same station. Neither can they access capacity on behalf of a third party, who owns capacity in these other cables, but lacks the necessary backhaul infrastructure for connection between the SCLS and its exchange premises.

Now, competing operators will no longer face such limitations. Operators can access capacity that is owned, or leased on a long term basis, on any submarine cable at the SCLS. Furthermore, these operators can also access capacity that is owned or leased by third parties, in order to offer them backhaul and transit services. IDA's decision provides greater flexibility and choice to operators in accessing submarine cable capacity.

IDA Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director-General (Telecoms) Mr Leong Keng Thai said, "Access to SingTel's submarine cable landing stations is an essential input for many telecoms services. Unnecessary access restrictions limit operators' competitive scope to provide international telecoms services." He added, "We want to support Singapore's telecoms market growth and increase our international competitiveness as a telecoms hub. IDA's decision will encourage greater participation in Singapore's telecoms market, and will increase connectivity and competition in international services. It will also lead to greater choice and more competitive prices for end-users."

Following IDA's decision, SingTel will be required to propose amendments to its Reference Interconnection Offer2 (RIO) to comply with IDA?s decision by end-September 2004. IDA?s Direction and Explanatory Memo can be downloaded from, under the sections "Policy & Regulation", "Interconnection & Access", "Approval and Amendments made to the RIO".


Notes to Editor:

1To access submarine cable capacity, a telecoms operator will usually co-locate its equipment at SingTel's landing station and build its own backhaul infrastructure from the SCLS to the telecoms operator's own exchange. The telecoms operator can then provide international telecoms services, backhaul services or transit services to its customers or to third parties.

Co-location refers to the lease of space at the SCLS to house transmission equipment. Backhaul refers to high capacity circuits that connect an SCLS to another terminating point (e.g. an operator's telecoms exchange) within the same country. From this terminating point, voice or data can be distributed to smaller capacity circuits over a network. Telecoms operators who have built backhaul facilities to the SCLS are licensed as Facilities-Based Operators (FBOs)

2SingTels Reference Interconnection Offer (RIO) sets out IDA-approved prices, terms and conditions for other telecom licensees to access SingTel's network. The RIO aims to facilitate the adoption of reasonable interconnection agreements and reduce the timeframe for interconnection negotiations between SingTel and other telecom licensees. The RIO includes Unbundled Network Elements such as local loops and Essential Support Facilities such as co-location space in SingTel's exchanges. SingTel's co-location and connection services are pegged at IDA-determined cost-based prices, terms and conditions, under SingTel's RIO. SingTel's RIO will be amended to incorporate new requirements to increase access to submarine cable capacity. The RIO will also be amended to include all submarine cables that land at SingTel's SCLS.

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 media clarifications, please contact:

Cindy Kong 
Manager, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: (65) 6211 1997
Fax: (65) 6211 2227

Dulcie Chan 
Assistant Director, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: (65) 6211 1999
Fax: (65) 6211 2227