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Singapore Seeks Centralised Database Administrator To Facilitate True Number Portability Roll-Out By Fourth Quarter 2007

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) today issued a call for organisations to bid for the "Centralised Database Administrator" role as part of the country's move towards True Number Portability1 from the fourth quarter of 2007.

Singapore, 06 November 2006 | For Immediate Release

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) today issued a call for organisations to bid for the "Centralised Database Administrator" role as part of the country's move towards True Number Portability1 from the fourth quarter of 2007. The IDA's Request For Proposal (RFP) seeks an operator-neutral administrator, to be appointed in early 2007.

Consumers have welcomed the True Number Portability solution, with the expectation of greater service and choices in the telecoms market. The move towards True Number Portability will spur greater competition and growth in the liberalised telecoms market, which sees mobile penetration of more than 100 per cent today.

The Centralised Database Administrator will be required, for a start, to develop a centralised database system that will inter-work with the fixed line and mobile services providers to enable the provision of number portability services to all end-users in Singapore. The appointed Centralised Database Administrator will also operate the centralised database system for seven years from the launch of True Number Portability.

IDA Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms) Leong Keng Thai said, "Today's Request for Proposal for an operator-neutral Centralised Database Administrator is another significant step towards realising True Number Portability in Singapore. With the True Number Portability solution in place, we can expect to see keener competition than ever and the emergence of more compelling services and packages from the operators."

While number portability was already implemented here in 1997 for mobile telephone service and in 2000 for fixed-line telephone service2, the current system came with limitations. For instance, while a mobile subscriber can switch between service providers and keep his number, he gets in essence a call-forwarding service whereby a call to his old number is routed to his new one. Family, friends and business contacts will only see his new number when he calls or sends a SMS. Beyond the inconveniences to consumers, the current system is also not designed to cope with the future market demands, for instance, emergence of new players and services.

IDA issued its decision to enhance the current Number Portability regime in August 2006, with a view to address such limitations and to spur further competition and growth in the telecoms sector. IDA's decision requires all telecoms operators to address the inadequacies and implement number portability through this centralised database approach. Since August, a number portability working committee has also been formed to address the specific implementation requirements and ensure the roll out of True Number Portability from the fourth quarter of 2007. The working committee comprises the IDA, the fixed-line and the mobile phone operators.

The RFP will close on 6 December 2006. IDA will evaluate the proposals and expects to appoint the Centralised Database Administrator in early 2007. Parties who are interested to bid for the Centralised Database Administrator role can refer to IDA's website for information and request for a copy of the RPF document3.

More details on IDA's decision on the review of the number portability solutions for both fixed line and mobile services can be found at IDA's website, in the sections "Policy & Regulation", "Consultation Papers".


Notes to Editor:

1 True Number Portability is the ability for telephone users to retain their current telephone numbers, when they switch from one telecom service provider to another telecoms service provider.

2 A Brief History of Number Portability in Singapore:
April 1997: Singapore introduced Mobile Number Portability via a Call Forwarding solution
April 2000: Fixed-Number Portability introduced, along with full liberalisation of Singapore's telecoms market
June 2003: IDA tells Mobile Operators to stop recurring monthly porting fees and to provide SMS portability
August 2006: IDA issues decision to enhance Number Portability solution
November 2006: IDA calls for RFP for Centralised Database Administrator
4Q 2007: Singapore to have true Number Portability solution

Singapore was one of the first in the world when it offered consumers number portability in 1997. That solution has served the mobile market well. However, better number porting technology has since become more readily available and cost-effective to deploy, such that other countries have leveraged it to enhance their own telecoms market. The United States of America, most European countries and South Africa have adopted the Central Database approach. In the Asia-Pacific, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia have also, or are planning for such a database in their markets.

3 The RFP document sets out the detailed technical and operational requirements of centralised database system and the evaluation criteria that IDA will use in selection of the centralised database administrator.

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

For media clarification, please contact:

Ms Angeline Tan
Assistant Manager, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 6211 0640
Fax : +65 6211 2227

Ms Ho Hwei Ling 
Assistant Director, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 6211 1996
Fax : +65 6211 2227