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Opening of New Building for Telecom Equipment Pte Ltd

Mr Teo Ming Kian, TAS Chairman Speech - Opening of New Building for Telecom Equipment Pte Ltd

Mr Teo Ming Kian, TAS Chairman
Speech - Opening of New Building for Telecom Equipment Pte Ltd
Singapore, 26 November 1996

Good morning.

It gives me great pleasure to officiate at the opening of this new building for Telecom Equipment Pte Ltd.

Singapore has a highly competitive and vibrant telecommunication equipment market. There are about 2,500 equipment distributors and dealers with numerous retail outlets across Singapore. Together, they offer a wide and diverse range of telecom end-user equipment at competitive prices to meet the consumers' varying needs.

Singapore's domestic market for these equipment was estimated at S$5.7 billion in 1995, with a growth rate of 18 percent per annum over the last two years. This vibrant market and the fast availability of new products from other parts of the world as well as those from Singapore are the results of our open equipment sale policy and the ease of installing the equipment in customers' premises. If you recall, it was not too long ago that various rulings prohibited such easy installation of the equipment. It was extremely difficult to get a second telephone for the house, let alone one in each room. Even if approval were given, it had to be the standard squarish phone supplied by the operator.

It is with the same intention of allowing customers to have more choices and encouraging more innovative service offerings that we have earlier announced that come April 2000, up to two more licences will be issued to operators to provide basic telecom services. We are hopeful that the competition among the new operators and Singapore Telecom will bring about even better services at even more competitive prices.

More innovative services like the advanced broadband multimedia services will be introduced. More innovative and sophisticated telecom equipment will come into the market for users to take advantage of and enjoy the full capabilities of these new advanced services. Even more innovative services will be introduced to fully exploit the capabilities of the new equipment. This mutual chase with each other between services and equipment for higher sophistication and quality will help build the telecom infrastructure and environment to provide increasing convenience and facility for enhanced productivity and new opportunities, whether in social interaction, self improvement or businesses.

It is therefore important that there are no inhibitions in the development of each part of the entire service chain, from content creation through the delivery infrastructure to the end-user equipment. Each of these parts must be allowed to develop and flourish, and at the same time, serve to hasten progress in the other parts. It is for this reason that TAS does not allow service providers to dictate and restrict the types of telecom equipment to be used, by for example, endorsing only a particular type of equipment for their network.

As TAS prepares to bring in new network infrastructure operators and encourages a competitive market for telecom equipment, various regulatory policies are being put in place to ensure good interconnection among different networks, to provide number portability and to bring about maximum accessibility of innovative and value-add content providers. To enjoy the enhanced network capabilities quickly, customers' premises such as homes and offices must be able to readily receive these advanced services.

To enable this to take place, TAS is in the process of reviewing the Code of Practice for Telecommunication Facilities in Buildings (COP-TEL). The code specifies the telecom cabling facilities and the space requirement to be provided by building developers or owners to enable all public telecom operators to effectively serve tenants in any building. These cabling facilities include underground lead-in pipes from the property boundary into a Main Distribution Frame room, telecom risers and distribution points in the building.

In reviewing the code, TAS has started dialogues with the industry to get the necessary feedback from all parties involved, such as the various governmental agencies, property developers and owners.

In line with our policy, TAS will maintain a technology neutral approach in working out the code, so that the needs of operators and tenants can be met irrespective of the technology employed, be it conventional copper wire, new fibre-optics or wireless technology. In this way, with the buildings and dwellings wired in accordance with the code, owners and tenants can readily choose their required services from various operators.

In order to better utilise scarce resources and avoid excessive infrastructure duplication, we will allow the cabling facilities in buildings to be jointly used or shared among different operators. Building developers and owners will be given the commercial freedom and flexibility to work with public telecom operators on the provision of telecom services for their buildings.

We aim to conclude our consultations and finalise the new code for implementation by first quarter 1997, three years in advance of basic telecom service competition. These guidelines can then be effected at the earliest possible time so that more of the building and construction projects can benefit from advance notification and better cater to the telecom needs of their tenants. We hope all newly built or renovated buildings and homes will soon be info-comms ready. Then, all one needs is simply to plug in the telecom equipment to start using the service.

Like the telecom equipment market which has come a long way from the days when it was dominated by a single provider, I am confident that the telecom service market will grow from strength to strength in a competitive multi-player market. Singaporeans can look forward to enjoy as wide a range of competitive telecom services as there is currently available in the consumer oriented equipment market. This will further stimulate the equipment market to be even more comprehensive in range and responsive in the state-of-the-art.

I congratulate Telecom Equipment Pte Ltd in your opening of this impressive building and wish you every success in your continued contribution to the growth of Singapore's telecom equipment market and the enhancement of our telecom environment.

Thank you.