Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief-Executive/Director-General (Telecoms), IDA Singapore - Opening Remarks Press Conference, IDA Auditorium

Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief-Executive/Director-General (Telecoms), IDA Singapore - Opening Remarks
Press Conference, IDA Auditorium

Singapore, 15 September 2000

1. It gives me great pleasure to announce the release of IDA's 'Code of Practice for Competition for the Provision of Telecommunication Services', or the 'Telecom Competition Code', for short.

2. A sound Competition Code is one of the key requirements for an internationally competitive infocomm industry in Singapore. As markets liberalise, the regulatory environment must be updated to remain relevant. In particular, it must support the rapid entry of new competitors, and fair, effective and sustainable competition amongst all companies.

3. The Competition Code we are announcing today will help ensure that companies operating in Singapore's infocomm sector will compete on the merits of their product range, quality of customer support, technological capability, quality of service and competitive pricing. At the same time, it will create an environment in which companies have the flexibility to offer consumers, both personal and corporate, the widest possible choice of services and the most competitive prices.

4. I would like to point out that this Code is the product of a lot of hard work on the part of both IDA and the industry. IDA has studied the best practices of other markets and it has consulted both international and local experts in the telecoms field to aid in its formulation. The industry has also made a substantial contribution to the Code during two rounds of public consultations conducted by IDA. For this, the industry deserves our thanks for their valuable and timely comments and views.

5. The Code strives to set clear boundaries for competitive market behaviour while providing sufficient latitude for innovation and rapid response to the demands of the market. It aims to facilitate the rapid entry of new competition and the deployment of innovative services, while ensuring a strong incentive for companies to invest in infrastructure. It will do this by ensuring that operators' build-or-buy decisions are based on reasonable and appropriate economic pricing signals. As competitive market forces develop, IDA is committed to an increasingly light-handed approach to regulation. Over time, it will increasingly rely on market forces to govern the competitive activities of the industry, and there will be greater emphasis on private commercial negotiations and industry self-regulation. As the future unfolds, the need for regulatory intervention should diminish. The Code will be reviewed within three years to ensure its continued relevance as the market evolves. Specifically, where services become competitive, regulations in these areas will be lifted.

6. In a dynamic environment, it is important that we engage the industry. We will continuously solicit feedback from the industry and listen carefully to its expressed needs.

7. This code is an important step forward for the infocomm industry in Singapore, and for Singapore's ambition to be an infocomm hub. It lays the ground rules for a future where companies compete on an equal footing to deliver world-class products and services to every home and business. It defines a future where every consumer and every business can choose from the broadest possible array of state-of-the-art communication options. It ensures a future where price, quality and service will be world-class in every sense of the word.

8. I would now like to ask our Assistant Director of Market Access and Competition, Ms Fiona Yeo, to take you through the keys points of the Code.