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Wired with Wireless : Industry Leadership in Building Capabilities

Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology - Address Official Launch of M1's Application Developers' Community, Raffles Hotel ...

Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology - Address
Official Launch of M1's Application Developers' Community, Raffles Hotel

Singapore, 10 October 2001


I am very happy to be here today for the launch of M1's Application Developers' Community.

With a mobile penetration rate of over 75%, Internet penetration of about 50%, and a technology-savvy, English-speaking population, Singapore is developing into a centre for wireless applications. Since it began operations in August 1994, M1 has been an innovative service provider, and I am glad that M1 is positioning itself to support the development of even more innovative applications in Singapore. This will further strengthen our position as a centre for wireless innovation.

Continuous Innovation

Despite the global economic downturn, the wireless industry in Asia has steadily forged ahead. The Yankee Group has forecasted that cellular Internet revenues in the Asia Pacific will increase by more than five fold, from US$7 billion in 2001 to US$40 billion in 2004. As the forecast was made prior to the horrendous events of September 11, the market forecast may be on the high side. Nonetheless, Asia, with its many tech-savvy users, remains a promising market. The tremendous usage of popular applications, such as SMS, and the high mobile penetration in countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore will further drive demand for newer mobile technologies. Consequently, our region is likely to be one of the leaders in the adoption and development of futuristic mobile phones and services.

Let me assure the industry that the Government is committed to providing a conducive and supportive environment for the development of the wireless industry as a whole. However, our vision of Singapore as a wireless innovation centre can only be achieved if leading industry players take on an active role in helping to build capabilities and foster innovation.

Since the launch of the 'Wired With Wireless' programme last year, IDA has announced a series of partnerships and initiatives that will help to provide an environment for collaboration between companies and help build capabilities. Let me give some examples:

One initiative is the establishment of Overseas Business Centres. The first partnership was formed in May this year between IDA and HP Mobile e-Services Bazaar in Tokyo. Apart from facilitating market reach and technology transfer, this Overseas Business Centre will help Singapore wireless developers gain access to beta testing in a live 3G network environment, as well as Java and FOMA handsets.

Another initiative is the creation of Wireless Technology Alliances. One partnership is the tie-up between Palm and Temasek Polytechnic to set up the Palm Mobile Computing Centre in April this year. Another is collaboration between Sun Microsystems and the Centre for Wireless Communications to establish the Java Wireless Competency Centre in June 2001. Through alliances formed between technology players, research institutes and institutes of higher learning, we can look forward to the development and deployment of new intellectual property. This will help promote proliferation and adoption of wireless technologies, in both the local market and beyond.

I am also encouraged by the joint collaboration among Singapore's three mobile operators - M1, SingTel Mobile and StarHub Mobile. This is in response to IDA's Call for Collaboration on Mobile Payment Systems in May this year. The three operators will jointly develop a common nation-wide Mobile Payment Solution.

In addition, I witnessed the launch of the Singapore IT Federation's Wireless Chapter in August. The Wireless Chapter provides a platform for like-minded companies to come together and address some of the challenges and opportunities of the mobile E-economy.

Pilots and Trials With Application Developers' Community

It is indeed heartening to see industry players taking a proactive role in providing their facilities and sharing their know-how in an effort to grow the industry as whole. Today, I congratulate M1 on the launch of your Application Developers' Community. This will not only benefit M1 but will also serve to enhance the capabilities of the wireless developers. It will, in turn, help drive the growth of wireless industry in Singapore.

I am also delighted to announce that M1 has been appointed as a PATH Assessment Centre. This program is an extension of IDA's Pilot And Trial Hotspots initiative. It is part of IDA's efforts to encourage more industry-led efforts to identify and assess innovative products and services, and bring them to trial and pilot. As a PATH Assessment Centre, and through its Application Developers' Community, M1 will review and recommend innovative and compelling wireless pilots and trials for support under the Wired With Wireless PATH initiative. Developers will gain access to M1's equipment, expertise and testing environment to ensure that their applications are robust and commercially ready.


Let me conclude by wishing M1 every success in its ventures. I hope that other industry players will also take the lead to help create and provide opportunities to build capabilities for wireless development. Together we can make Singapore the living lab for wireless technologies in Asia.