Wired With Wireless: "Enabling Wireless Innovation"

Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman, IDA Singapore - Speech Wired with Wireless Seminar, Grand Corpthorne Waterfront Hotel

Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman, IDA Singapore - Speech
Wired with Wireless Seminar, Grand Corpthorne Waterfront Hotel

Singapore, 22 May 2001


Distinguished Guests, Speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen, a very good afternoon to you all.


The first half of this year saw significant changes in the state of the global economy. While the financial industry in Europe started to take a cautious tone last year, the downturn of the US economy has further reduced the level of investments, discretionary spending and research and development around the world. Fortunately, the prospects of the wireless industry, particularly in Asia, look promising. Moreover, Singapore is well positioned to take advantage of this growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

Wireless growth in Asia-Pacific

So, what is the market potential for Wireless in the region and Singapore?
The Yankee Group has forecast continuous growth in Asia-Pacific:

  • First, cellular Internet revenues will rise more than five fold from about US$7 billion in 2001 to US$40 billion in 2004.
  • Second, mobile Internet subscription is forecasted to more than double from about 96 million to 240 million subscribers during the same period.

Wireless growth in Singapore

For the Year 2000, the Yankee Group reported that Singapore achieved about US$69 million of mobile Internet data revenue and this is projected to increase 23 fold to US$1.3 billion by end of 2004. Data services is expected to rise from 6% to 50% as a percentage of average revenue per user (ARPU).

Singapore - Test bed for wireless innovation

These trends are reflective of Singapore's high mobile and Internet penetration rates that are comparable to those in the leading mobile nations. Coupled with our excellent infrastructure, pro-business climate and good international interconnectivity, Singapore is an ideal test market for wireless products and services, locally and for Asia.

We would like to see Singapore to be among the first in Asia to turn 3G into reality. In April this year, 3G spectrum rights were allocated to M1, SingTel Mobile and StarHub. Together with Japan, Korea and Australia, Singapore will be among the first in Asia to have awarded our licenses with an expected roll out of services by 2003.

With comparatively lower 3G licensing costs, a high mobile penetration rate of over 60% and a good broadband infrastructure, we are confident that Singapore-based companies are in a strong position to develop the resources and capabilities needed to implement 3G services that would otherwise be impossible over narrowband.

Singapore - Living Lab and Business Catalyst

Let me highlight a few positive developments undertaken by global wireless technology players together with Singapore partners.

  • First, Ericsson increased its wireless R&D budget and has positioned Ericsson Cyberlab Singapore to take the lead as the only terminal and advanced research lab in Asia Pacific. A good example of its partnership with Singapore developers would be a telematics product called Wired Mobile which was developed in the Cyberlab by a Singapore company, goMobile. goMobile has also teamed up with Daimler Chrysler in Singapore to test Wired Mobile for the US market.
  • Besides Ericsson Cyberlab, SignalSoft and Webraska have also signed Memorandum of Understanding with mobile operator M1, to test and provide location services for cell phones and cars in Singapore.

Wired With Wireless

To further propel the development of a vibrant wireless industry, the Wired With Wireless programme was launched last October by Minister Yeo Cheow Tong.

Focus Areas

Singapore's Wired With Wireless programme will focus on 3 areas, namely wireless multimedia, location-based services and M-commerce. Through collaboration with our industry partners, Wired With Wireless hopes to:

  • Proliferate wireless technological innovation,
  • Export innovative wireless products and services,
  • Develop leading edge mobile communications talent and
  • Achieve mass adoption of the wireless lifestyle.

Announcement 1: Pilot and Trial Hotspots (P A T H)

Today, I am happy to announce some initiatives under the Wired With Wireless programme. With these initiatives, we look forward to expand our growing pool of achievements in the wireless sector by encouraging more of our companies to develop, test bed and implement innovative solutions.

The first is an initiative called the Pilot and Trial Hotspots or PATH initiative for short. PATH aims to position Singapore as a hotbed of wireless activities and help Singapore-based companies achieve world-class excellence through the development of proof-of-concept and proof-of-value wireless applications and technologies. IDA has set aside an initial sum of S$9million for PATH.

Together with co-sponsoring organisations, PATH will support the implementation of innovative pilots and trials by Singapore-based wireless developers. Eventually these pilots and trials will also be used and applied by the co-sponsoring organisations.

Announcement 2: Call For Collaboration (CFC)

Individual companies can apply for support from PATH. However, we believe that more value can be derived from collaboration with other companies, institutes of higher learning (IHLs), and research institutes (RIs). IDA will therefore periodically issue a call to wireless industry players for proposals to collaborate with one another in the development of pilots and trials for specific applications or needs of a vertical sector. IDA will consult the industry in determining the areas to be addressed in a Call For Collaboration (CFC) exercise.

The CFC serves as a platform for companies to network and identify collaboration opportunities so that industry players can come together to propose innovative solutions with greater synergistic value.

Through the CFC process, we would like to identify the best-of-breed proposals and solutions; and more than 1 CFC applicant can be awarded whenever proposals of good quality are presented to IDA.

First CFC: Mobile Payment Systems

IDA has decided to make its first CFC to seek proposals for projects related to the enabling and development of mobile payment systems. The choice of mobile payment systems was based on its importance key payment infrastructure necessary to support a robust M-commerce sector.

The documentation containing details of this Call For Collaboration on Mobile Payment Systems are available today. You may pick it up at the Registration area outside. Alternatively, you can also access the same information at IDA's web site under "Key Programmes - Wired With Wireless".

Announcement 3: Overseas Business Centres (O B C)

IDA is keen to help Singapore companies with innovative products gain international exposure and markets for their products. We plan to do this through the Overseas Business Centre (OBC) Initiative. Through this initiative, Singapore-based wireless developers can tie up with overseas technology partners and benefit from the direct access links to the corporate HQs of global wireless players. This will increase their access to their partners' technology as well as roll-out and marketing resources.

The Overseas (OBC) Partner stands to gain from the proliferation and adoption of its technology outside its country by offering support in terms of marketing channels; incubation and showcase platforms to the Singapore partner.

I am pleased to announce that the honour of being the first OBC partnership goes to that formed between HP Mobile e-Services Bazaar and IDA.

Conclusion - Get Wired With Wireless!

The Pilot And Trial Hotspots (PATH) and Overseas Business Centres (OBC) are the first of a few Wired With Wireless initiatives to be announced this year. You can look forward to future announcements on:

  • Key projects in various vertical sectors, such as retail and transportation;
  • Manpower development initiatives; and
  • Market access initiatives.

I hope that all of you here and in the industry will find one or more of these initiatives of value in pursuing your business ventures. On that note, may I wish you all a fruitful time at this event this afternoon.

Thank you.