Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech Media Conference on M-Payment Solutions CFC, Copthorne Harbour View Hotel ...

Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech
Media Conference on M-Payment Solutions CFC, Copthorne Harbour View Hotel

Singapore, 15 October 2001

Good morning, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for being here this morning for the media conference.

In May this year, as part of the Wired with Wireless Programme, IDA's Chairman, Mr Lam Chuan Leong, launched the Pilots and Trials Hotspots (or PATH) initiative. At that event, IDA also issued the first Call for Collaboration (or CFC) to the industry for Mobile Payment Solutions. Today's media conference is to announce the results of the m-payments solutions CFC as well as to announce further calls for collaboration.

Why start with mobile payments? Of the various factors that affect the vibrancy of the wireless industry, IDA believes that one of the most important factors is the ability of businesses to use mobile platforms for payment purposes. Unlike the wired Internet, we do not expect free applications and services to be the foundation of the mobile Internet. The mobile payment infrastructure will enable revenue generation, which is necessary if we are to see compelling applications and services from merchants and service providers. We therefore felt that developing the mobile payment system infrastructure was important to stimulating the development of the entire M-commerce ecosystem. Hence, mobile payments as the subject of the first CFC.

We also felt that open standards and interoperability were important to mobile payments. We therefore designed the CFC to encourage collaboration among industry players such as telcos, banks and application providers, to provide an open and seamless platform to meet the consumers' mobile payment solutions needs.

1st Call For Collaboration (CFC) - Mobile Payment Solutions

Let me now brief you on the CFC process. We begun it with an open invitation on 22 May 2000 to all industry players who were interested, to take part in the project.

In all, 72 companies attended the initial public briefing and 21 consortia submitted their proposals to IDA. Out of these submissions, 12 consortia were then short-listed by an evaluation committee comprising members from EDB, MAS, selected venture capitalists, research institutes and IDA staff. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the companies that made the effort to participate in the CFC exercise, as well as the evaluation committee who contributed their valuable time and expertise unstintingly to consider the various proposals.

I am delighted to congratulate the 4 successful consortia in the Mobile Payment Solutions CFC. Not in any order of merit, they are:

  • First, the consortium comprising NCS, NETS, SingTel Mobile, Starhub Mobile, MobileOne, VISA, Eng Wah, Diethelm, National Library Board, NUS and DBS; 
  • Second, the consortium comprising Nokia, NETS and DBS; 
  • Third, the consortium comprising ST Electronics, Citibank, BCS Information Systems, wizVision, mVent, Green Dot Capital, Starhub Mobile, CET Technologies, mPayment, MasterCard International, Cathay, Premas International, CalendarOne, National Service Resort & Country Club 
  • Fourth, the consortium comprising Systems@Work, HP MEB, Gemplus, Suntec City and VISA.
    7 Arising from this first CFC exercise, we anticipate total investments from all these companies of about S$20 million in the implementation of the solutions. Out of this $20 million total, IDA will support between S$7 to S$12million from our Wired with Wireless funds. The actual support level from IDA will depend on factors such as achievement of preset targets and milestones, recruitment of pilot users etc within the trial period.

 What was significant in this CFC exercise was

  • The pace in which industry alliances were fostered through a series of networking events. I was told that the discussions between partners were more urgent and committed as compared to before the CFC;
  • Plans by these companies to implement mobile payment solutions were brought forward by as much as nine to twelve months;
  • Another result (and probably one of a world's first) is the alliance amongst the three telco operators, SingTel
    Mobile, MobileOne and StarHub Mobile, to facilitate the development of a common nationwide mobile payment platform. I congratulate the 3 operators for being able to come together to work on this common platform. I believe that this will not only allow merchants to connect to the M-commerce environment without investing in separate integration systems with each mobile operator, but it will also help create a bigger customer base for both the operators and merchants, and will be win-win for everybody.

With today's award to the 4 consortia, IDA will accelerate efforts to work with the whole industry to promote mobile payments solutions. We will embark on programmes to encourage uptake of mobile payment solutions among the mobile users, merchants and institutions. The Government will also lead in identifying ways where technologies and mobile payments can improve processes for public sector services. Other than those who are involved in this first CFC, merchants who are interested in becoming early adopters to adopt mobile payments solutions can apply to IDA's eBIDS programme to support some of the costs of their efforts.

More Areas For Continuous Innovation - New CFCs

The CFC process has proved to be an effective way to garner industry alliances and spurring industry participation in our efforts to encourage more innovative developments in the wireless arena. The first CFC has achieved remarkable results within a short period. There will of course be challenges ahead as the pilot projects roll out, but that is normal. So taking heart from the enthusiastic responses from industry to the first CFC, IDA will accelerate the Call for Collaboration process as a platform to bring together wireless technology players worldwide, as well as to produce solutions that can adequately address both the demand-side and supply-side of the business model.

I am pleased therefore to announce today 2 more new CFCs for wireless developments:

  • The first is for Mobile Workforce Solutions. This CFC hopes to encourage the use of wireless technologies to enhance the business competitiveness. Enterprises and organisations are beginning to realise the potential of increasing mobility for their workforce. Both the company and their employees will stand to benefit from the application of wireless technologies in their day-to-day business operations and process innovation. For instance, a salesperson who is able to fulfil his/her orders quickly will enable the company to reap gains in both productivity and profits. The ability to shorten the delivery cycle will also mean greater customer satisfaction.To encourage the use of wireless technologies to enhance business processes, IDA will continue to support wireless industry players in their efforts to drive adoption of mobile applications and services. This can be through joint seminars and events to create public awareness of wireless technologies in the workplace. In addition, user companies participating in pilots and trials can opt to conduct ROI and feasibility studies on the impact of implementing a mobile solution for their workforce drawing on a panel of consulting bodies nominated by IDA. We will use our Market Development (MADE) initiative, also under the "Wired With Wireless" programme, to support this. Interested companies are welcome to write in to: MADE@imda.gov.sg.
  • The second CFC will be on Wireless Java Solutions. Java is recognised as one of the leading emerging platforms to develop interactive, multimedia and connected applications over a wide variety of mobile devices. Together with the launch of the Java Wireless Competency Centre formed between Sun Microsystems and Centre for Wireless Communications in June this year, this CFC will put in place a test bed for Java applications developers.
    For more information on the two new CFCs, the industry can get details from the IDA web site by navigating through "Key Programmes" and then "Call for Collaboration".


Despite the ups and downs of the economy, and indeed, of some wireless technologies like 3G, the Singapore Government remains committed and focused in our efforts to accelerate wireless developments in Singapore, and to help our industry be players in the global wireless space. Our high mobile penetration rate of more than 76% 76.6%, August 2001, Source: IDA makes Singapore an important Asian wireless test bed and a launch pad for new services into the Asian market, and we should leverage on this.

The road ahead may not be easy, but the key to surviving and being competitive in the long run is to focus on maintaining the competitive edge through continuous innovation and value creation. This is why IDA is emphasizing programmes that encourage innovation and experimentation I would like to urge our wireless industry to take heart, to forge ahead and continue with their development efforts as this will pave the way for greater opportunities ahead when the outlook gets better. On our part, Government will help provide the environment, the necessary support and even some of the market opportunities for companies to develop their capabilities and innovate. Companies have, of course, to determine the value they can create and how to take this and move forward when the economy recovers.

With this, may I once again congratulate the 4 consortia selected under the mobile payments solution CFC. I wish the industry all the best in your endeavours. Thank-you.