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Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology Speech - Wireless Initiatives for Singapore Launch, Suntec Singapore

Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology
Speech - Wireless Initiatives for Singapore Launch, Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 27 October 2000


1. I am pleased to be here today to launch the initiatives for the development of the wireless sector for Singapore. The wireless sector is clearly one of the key growth engines in the infocomm industry. As an illustration, Vodafone, the world's largest mobile operator with more than 65 million subscribers in 25 countries, expects its revenue per subscriber to more than double over the next ten years or so. Significantly, half the revenue is projected to come from non-voice services.

2. The series of wireless initiatives is part of our holistic approach to spur industry developments across the entire wireless services value chain so as to position Singapore as a nucleus for wireless activities in Asia. In promoting and developing wireless services, we recognise that competition at the infrastructure level will be critical. My announcement last week, to award four 3G licenses via an auction is thus a strategic one for the wireless sector. An auction is the most transparent and objective mechanism for allocating the 3G spectrum and this will attract the participation of both local and world-class global telcos which can contribute to the development of the wireless sector.

The Broadband Leverage

3. Singapore started laying the foundation for wireless broadband with the development of our wireline broadband network - Singapore ONE. The future wireless broadband development will complement the existing wireline broadband infrastructure and ecosystem. It will allow for multiple channels of content delivery in an integrated infrastructure so that consumers and businesses can eventually communicate Any time, Anywhere and from Any appliance.

Key Areas of Wireless Sector Development

4. Broadly, the development of mobile infrastructure, services and products will focus on three key areas: location-based services, wireless multimedia and mobile commerce.

5. First, with location-based services, one can imagine a couple, Albert and Margaret going out for dinner and deciding what to have. They both receive different menus on their handheld gadgets while walking past Cyber Pizza restaurant. Albert's appliance shows his favourite cheese-and-wine pizza and alerts him that "it is only available tonight". Margaret's device on the other hand displays a curry fish pizza and informs her that "the chef of Cyber Pizza restaurant will share his exclusive recipe for curry fish pizza on Radio 93.8 web site at 10am tomorrow".

6. Second, wireless multimedia services developed now for the wireline broadband network can be readapted for the wireless systems in the future. Take the case of Albert and Margaret again. While waiting for their dinner, they decide to kill time by fixing a weekend appointment with their friends to catch the latest blockbuster movie together. Using their handheld devices, they can then check on which of their friends are free, then select the movie by viewing movie trailers online.

7. The third area of focus is in mobile commerce. Their child, Jessica, is with her friends in a toy store. She phones Margaret on her mobile appliance, shows her through video, a picture of a cool 5th-generation AIBO. Jessica asks for permission to buy it. Agreeing, Margaret transmits payment to the toy store. All these are done the wireless way, through their mobile devices.

"Wired With Wireless"

8. Focusing on these three areas, the Government aims to build a world-class wireless infrastructure and create a vibrant wireless industry in Singapore. Companies will find it conducive to build and export wireless products and services out of Singapore. We will also actively promote and enable a wireless lifestyle for all Singaporeans. To jumpstart some of the wireless developments in the focus areas, key projects with industry-wide impact will be identified, developed and launched with industry participation. We will also support the proliferation of pilot projects in the major vertical sectors in the industry. Overall, the Government's "Wired With Wireless" programme contains seven strategic thrusts to stimulate the growth of wireless developments.

9. First, the development of thought leadership in the wireless arena. This will include engaging renowned consultants and professionals in this field to provide advice and leadership in developing wireless projects and policies. We will also offer sabbaticals at our Institutes of Higher Learning for leading international academics. Another programme will aim at attracting key global wireless events in Singapore. All these will position Singapore as a world-class showcase of wireless achievements, and a "happening" place for wireless activities.

10. Second, market access development. Under this initiative, we will assist companies in conducting market studies and target user profiles. This will accelerate their learning cycle between the initial product development stage and their first market launch, and enable them to move faster into the potential markets.

11. Third, manpower development. We will build up a supply of specialist knowledge and skills, and further enhance R&D efforts in the wireless area. Under this initiative, the Government will be setting up a virtual Singapore Wireless Academy. We will also start a Wireless Attachment and Wireless Specialists Attraction Programme. These will involve collaborating with the various IHLs and the Centre for Wireless Communications to promote cross-border exchanges with companies and attract foreign talent to work in Singapore.

12. Fourth, technology development. The Government will foster a conductive environment for product and service innovations and R&D through a Wireless Technology Alliance, which promotes and harnesses collaborations between the industry and IHLs. We will also assist local companies to work in renowned overseas wireless research parks to gain access to the latest technologies for product development.

13. Fifth, the promotion and development of wireless infrastructure, services and products. In close partnership with the industry, the Government will identify, develop and launch key infrastructure projects that have an industry-wide impact and which can be exported. They will be industry driven and could be in diverse areas ranging from retail, entertainment, transportation, airport systems and even for homes. For services and products, the focus will be on the major vertical sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, finance and banking, healthcare and education. A Pilot Project Grant will be set up to co-fund the implementation of pilots and trials by companies, and the successful ones can then lead on to the implementation of industry-wide solutions by the private sector.

14. Sixth, promoting rapid industry adoption of m-commerce. An M-commerce Industry Development Scheme will be made available to industry players to co-fund the development of m-commerce applications by merchants.

15. Finally, encouraging mass consumer adoption. Through consumer awareness programmes, we will encourage early adoption and highlight the benefits of the wireless lifestyle. There will also be public events and activities to showcase some of our key projects.


16. Wireless technologies will revolutionise many aspects of our lives both at work and at play. With our high mobile penetration rate, Singapore is already well positioned to be a choice location and a launching pad for cutting-edge wireless communications technologies. As I have mentioned at last Friday's 3G announcement, the Government will continue to develop the wireless communications industry because the wireless sector is a key component in our efforts to be a leading infocomm hub. Today, I am happy to announce that the Government will set aside up to $200 million from the 3G license auction fees to drive the "Wired with Wireless" programme. Through this programme, the Government will facilitate the development of products and services by the wireless infrastructure developers, access service providers and content creators to benefit both the industry and consumers. This will achieve our vision to develop the best, integrated wireline and wireless broadband infrastructure for Singapore. With that, let me conclude by urging all relevant industry players to join us in this effort to further strengthen our position as a leading regional and global infocom hub.