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Introducing Competition in the Liberalised Telecommunication Market

Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology Speech - Telecommunications Licence Award Ceremony, Raffles City Convention Centre

Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology
Speech - Telecommunications Licence Award Ceremony, Raffles City Convention Centre
Singapore, 29 March 2000


1. I am happy to be here today to welcome the new players to Singapore's info-communications industry. In an industry characterised by the rapid convergence of technologies and businesses, the openness of the telecommunications market is a key factor in attracting new investments and service providers.

2. To become the region's leading infocomms hub, Singapore needs a globally competitive telecommunications market, where many service providers offer a wide range of innovative, high quality and cost effective services that meet the varied needs of businesses and consumers. The earlier introduction of full market competition will strengthen our competitiveness and help position Singapore as the choice location in the region for key infocomms players.

3. Since the January announcement to bring forward full liberalisation, the IDA and EDB have actively discussing with many interested parties, both local and foreign. These companies are keen to establish a presence in Singapore and participate in the liberalised market. Judging from the response so far, the move to accelerate the introduction of full market competition has been well received.

New Licensees

4. Today, I am pleased to present 5 new facility-based licences and 24 new service-based individual licences to successful applicants. Most of them are familiar names in the telecommunications market, like MCI WorldCom Asia, FLAG Telecom and AT&T Worldwide Telecommunications Service Singapore. There are also 8 licences awarded to existing telecom service providers expanding their scope of operations and services. Collectively, they offer the full range of services from provision of network capacity, as in the case of submarine cable operators, to international calling card services and Internet exchange services. The market will now see a total of about 20 Internet access service providers and 20 operators offering international simple resale to service the growing needs of businesses and consumers.

5. In addition to the licences presented today, the Government expects more licence applications to come from major global carriers over the next 3 to 6 months. Players who have indicated strong interests to participate in Singapore's liberalised market include KPN Asia, One.Tel and Teleglobe.

6. There are today more than 5,000 MNCs operating here, more than half of which perform substantial regional functions. Singapore therefore represents a strategic market in Asia's high growth telecommunications market. Excluding 3G mobile and fixed wireless investments, it is estimated that the total investments arising from the new activities following the full market liberalisation to be close to $3 billion over the next 3 years. These investments are expected to create a total of about 2,500 new jobs.

7. All these investments will do much to increase choice, lower costs, and improve the quality of telecommunications services in Singapore. This will further enhance our competitiveness as a telecommunications hub in the region. With telecommunications being the infrastructure layer of the digital economy, market liberalisation is expected to bring about significant spin-off activities.

8. The EDB has been working with companies such as Exodus Communications, Telekonnect, ST Telemedia and Pacific Internet Exchange Corp (PIXC), all of whom have decided to set up data centre operations in Singapore. Global One Communications Pte Ltd has also chosen Singapore as its network access centre for South-East Asia. Besides this, the telecommunications equipment and ICT services industry are also expected to experience stronger growth as associated systems consultancy and network integration services will be needed to put the hardware in place.


9. Singapore's telecommunication sector has certainly come a long way since the early 90s, when the Government began working towards introducing market competition. Today's licence award ceremony marks a new chapter in our country's telecommunications history. The debut of new players, together with existing operators, will inject a wave of vibrancy and growth to what is already a dynamic telecommunications sector. May I wish all the new licensees success in your venture.

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