Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at Brunei Darussalam Pavilion

19 June 2012 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at Brunei Darussalam Pavilion at Marina Bay Sands

Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 3.20pm at Brunei Darussalam Pavilion at Marina Bay Sands

His Excellency Pehin Dato Abdullah Bakar
Distinguished delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good Afternoon,

Strong Bilateral Relations between Brunei and Singapore

1. Brunei and Singapore enjoy a long history of warm friendship. We have cooperated closely in a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interests. This year also marks the 45th anniversary of the historic Currency Inter-changeability Agreement between Singapore and Brunei.1

Studies on Mobile Roaming in ASEAN

2. The use of mobile phones has grown exponentially over the last few years. Countries like Brunei and Singapore now have mobile phone penetration rates of more than 100 per cent. For most of us, we carry our mobile phones everywhere we go - for work, travel or leisure. The mobile phone, left turned on 24 hours a day, is often the primary means of contact to the rest of the world.

3. As it is to be expected, mobile roaming traffic has also grown considerably over the years. However, mobile phone subscribers remain very mindful of high overseas calls and mobile roaming charges incurred during their travels. Some have even switched to lower cost options, such as using local SIM cards or the internet chat, to avoid the high charges.

4. ASEAN conducted studies on the international roaming market for both voice and data services. The studies indicated prices for most of the retail international mobile roaming services were found high relative to domestic retail prices. The studies also recommended that ASEAN countries exercise some level of intervention to address the high roaming prices between ASEAN countries. Doing so will benefit consumers and allow them to use roaming services with a greater peace of mind.

Brunei and Singapore Cooperation in Mobile Roaming Rates

5. I am happy to announce that the telecoms regulators of Brunei and Singapore, the Authority of Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei, or AITI (to read the alphabets as A-I-T-I) and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, or IDA, are currently exploring the lowering of mobile roaming rates between both countries for services such as voice calls, SMSes and data usage.

6. This collaboration seeks to provide cross-border communication at a lower cost for the people of Brunei and Singapore. It would also enhance and reduce the cost of doing business between the two countries.

7. I am heartened to see that Brunei and Singapore have a common goal to lower the bilateral mobile roaming rates. I encourage IDA and AITI to continue building on their excellent relationship, and to identify new initiatives for cooperation so as to bring about greater development and connectivity between our countries.

8. Lastly, I hope that the experience at the CommunicAsia exhibition will be a fruitful and enriching one for the Brunei Pavilion.

9. Thank you.

Note to Editor

1 Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore adopted a system of free interchangeability of their respective currencies, which took effect from 12 June 1967. The tripartite arrangement was terminated in 1973. Brunei and Singapore continued with the arrangement. www.mas.gov.sg/en/Currency/Currency-Interchangeability-Agreement-with-Brunei.aspx