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Official Launch of the New TAS Infohub

1. The infocommunication industry is evolving at a tremendous pace. This is evident in the rapid development and adoption of new technologies and the dynamics of industry restructuring brought about by liberalisation and convergence ...

Leong Keng Thai, Director-General, TAS - Speech
Singapore, 6 November 1998

1. The infocommunication industry is evolving at a tremendous pace. This is evident in the rapid development and adoption of new technologies and the dynamics of industry restructuring brought about by liberalisation and convergence. The Internet and e-commerce are fast re-defining the way we live and work. As the organization charged with the responsibility of regulating and promoting the infocommunication industry, TAS must be amongst those who take the lead to exploit IT and telecommunication technologies to improve our organizational efficiency and to serve our users and customers better. With the increasing widespread use of the Internet as a medium to transact information and services, I am pleased to announce the introduction of Online Services on the new TAS Infohub. The online services, which include Licensing Application, Frequently-Asked-Questions and Press Enquiry, represent our continuous efforts to improve our level of service and communication with the public and the media.

2. All our licensing application forms and accompanying guidelines have been made available on the Infohub for easy downloading and online submission. The immediate benefits of electronic application are convenience for the public and efficiency in transactions, which means that licence applications will be processed in a shorter period of time. To assist licence applicants and the public, we have made available a Help Desk which is also connected to the Singapore ONE network. At this Help Desk, our staff will be on-hand to assist with any queries pertaining to online application or licensing in general.

3. To encourage electronic filing of applications, TAS will give a one-time 20% discount on licence fees to applicants who apply online. Licences that can be applied online include radio-communication station, audiotex service, some VAN services, telecommunication wiring and express letter service. To enjoy the 20% discount on the licence fees, the applicant must sign-up for GIRO payment.

4. Advances in electronic and telecommunication technologies have shortened the period of product development and product life cycle. This, coupled with market globalisation and competition, has made available a wide range of consumer telecommunication products at affordable prices. For suppliers of telecom equipment, time-to-market has become a determinant in the successful commercialisation of such fast-moving products. In our aim to address and keep up with market developments and changing consumer needs, TAS will simplify the type approval schemes and procedures to facilitate faster market entry of new products. Under the "General Approval Scheme", single-line terminal equipment such as single line telephones and fax machines will be exempted from type approval by TAS. Suppliers and dealers selling such equipment must, however, ensure that the equipment complies with the applicable standards and specifications published by TAS and is able to interwork compatibly with the public networks. For certain more complex equipment, type approval will still be required but it will be based on document evaluation and a Manufacturer's Declaration of Conformity (MDC). This means that manufacturers and suppliers need not submit sample units of equipment to TAS for testing, unless specifically requested to do so. Instead, they will submit a declaration that the equipment conforms to our published standards and specifications.

5. In addition to streamlining the type approval procedures, TAS is implementing a class licensing scheme for dealers who sell only type approved equipment and equipment exempted from type approval under the General Approval Scheme. These dealers do not need to apply individually for a dealer's licence, but will instead be regulated under a Dealer's Class Licence. This is to encourage greater market participation by businesses who wish to sell telecommunication products which can be readily used in Singapore. This will in turn mean that consumers will have even greater and easier access to such products. For dealers dealing in non type-approved equipment which cannot be used in Singapore and are meant for export only, they will continue to be individually licensed.

6. The initiatives that I have just mentioned are driven by our commitment towards meeting the needs of consumers and equipment suppliers in an environment of rapid technological change and dynamic market development. With the new schemes in place, telecommunication suppliers and manufacturers will find it more convenient to introduce new products to the market. This will also result in significant time and cost savings, which will be passed on to the consumers in the form of more attractive equipment prices. More details on the new type approval and licensing schemes can be found in the press release. A briefing session for the dealers and manufacturers will be held after this to provide more details on the new schemes and procedures.

7. With these new initiatives, I hope that the industry, the media and the public will use our Online Services actively, so as to enjoy its benefits. To keep abreast of industry developments and better meet changing consumer needs, we will continue to review our policies and procedures regularly to ensure that we operate efficiently and that consumers can enjoy the fruits of a vibrant telecommunication industry.

Thank you.