Showing posts with label SingTel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SingTel. Show all posts

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Singapore plans 5G gaming trial

Razer, Singtel and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) are preparing to launch Singapore’s first 5G cloud gaming trial.

Throughout the trial, Razer will provide the 5G cloud gaming use case and test scenarios, leveraging their unique know-how and intellectual property for the development of cloud gaming technologies and hardware, while Singtel will provide the 5G platform and technical test scenarios.

The trial will commence in the next few months and will be conducted at three locations – Shaw Centre and Ngee Ann City on the Orchard Road shopping belt, and Razer’s new Southeast Asia headquarters at one-north. At the end of the trial, Razer and Singtel plan to hold a cloud gaming showcase that will be open to the public.

The trial aims to gain insights on:

  • 5G network characteristics and requirements of cloud gaming;
  • Design and engineering of low latency hardware for cloud gaming that can deliver quality performance and a broader range of gaming experiences, from ultra-fast responsiveness to portability to seamless device-to-device sync to cloud servers.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Singtel revenue stable despite lower ARPU and impact of Airtel India

Singtel posted revenue of S$4.11 billion for the quarter ended 30-June-2019, up 2% in constant currency, on growth in Consumer Australia and the Group’s digital businesses which continued to scale. Net profit was S$541 million for the first quarter, down 35% largely due to Airtel’s losses and higher depreciation and amortisation costs in network and spectrum across the Group. Excluding Airtel, however, net profit was down 3%.

Ms Chua Sock Koong, Singtel Group CEO said, “The Airtel impact aside, business is stable as we continued to execute to strategy in the first quarter. We added postpaid mobile customers in Singapore and Australia and grew our digital businesses Amobee and Trustwave. This was achieved against a backdrop of heightened competition, sustained industry headwinds and subdued economic growth. We are focused on the digitalization of our core communications business where innovations in digital products and services are proving to be key differentiators, leveraging our network superiority. We are also driving productivity gains and cost savings through digitalisation.”

Some highlights:


  • Overall pre-tax earnings contributions fell 14% due to Airtel in India as higher network costs, depreciation and finance charges from its 4G network expansion affected financial performance. This quarter, Airtel India saw improved ARPU which drove growth in its mobile revenue. E
  • Telkomsel Indonesia posted an 18% increase in earnings on robust growth in data and digital services. 
  • In Thailand, AIS and Intouch’s earnings were mainly impacted by an additional provision for statutory payments under revised labour legislation. 
  • In the Philippines, Globe saw strong data revenue growth from its mobile and broadband businesses.
  • In Australia, Optus is rolling out its 5G fixed wireless service which is targeted to reach 1,200 sites by March 2020. Revenue increased 8% led by growth in NBN migration revenue, equipment sales and handset leasing. EBITDA rose 9% primarily from higher NBN migration revenue. Optus continued to drive customer growth, adding 50,000 postpaid handset customers. Mobile service revenue declined 7% from lower ARPU due to an increased mix of SIM-only customers and heightened data price competition. Optus Sport now reaches over 700,000 customers with compelling content on the Premier League, Champions League Final and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Optus also launched Apple Music to further boost its content suite.
  • In Singapore, mobile revenue was stable. Higher equipment sales offset the decline in local and roaming voice services. Postpaid customers grew 35,000 this quarter with strong demand for its all-digital, no-contract GOMO plans. Revenue from fixed services was down 3%, excluding contributions from the 2018 FIFA World Cup broadcast in the prior period. Pay-TV customers increased by 1,100 on a sequential quarter basis. Operating expenses fell 6% from strong cost management mainly through digitalisation. However, lower voice revenue resulted in a 4% decline in EBITDA.
  • Group Enterprise revenue slid 5% due to lower Optus Business volumes and the continued pressure on carriage services amid a more cautious business environment. Optus Business in Australia was impacted by weak demand from the government and financial sectors, and a large ICT contract in the same quarter last year. Excluding Optus Business, revenue would have been stable. 
  • Group Digital Life’s revenue rose 17%, driven by the continued growth in Amobee’s programmatic advertising business and contributions from Videology. Mobile video streaming service HOOQ saw healthy revenue growth from a higher base of paying subscribers in Southeast Asia and India. Amobee continues to deliver positive EBITDA.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

MEF18 PoC - MEF 3.0 Inter-Carrier Services and Blockchain Settlement



MEF18 Proof of Concept, 29 - 31 Oct - MEF 3.0 LSO Federated Inter-Carrier Bandwidth-on-Demand Services Through Automated Discovery and Blockchain Settlement. 

PoC Participants:  PCCW Global, Sparkle, Tata Communications, SingTel, CBCcom, Liquid Telecom, Infonas, Clear, and Cataworx.

This group won the MEF18 PoC Silver Award.

Speaker:  Shahar Steiff, AVP, New Technology, PCCW Global.

A typical Communications Service Provider (CSP) owns and delivers a combination of network connectivity, compute, and storage services that are bundled into billable product offerings. It is most likely that such product offerings rely on partner CSPs that use each other’s resources to complement geographical or service capability coverage. To meet its potential, the market needs solutions that will dramatically streamline the commercial interactions between the CSP partners in the supply chain delivering such products. Those interactions typically include establishment of legal and commercial relationships, inquiries about availability of services, requests for quotes, placement of orders, billing, and settlement. As new and ever more complex products enter the market, commercial interactions based on manual intervention and processing using, for example, phone-calls, emails, and fax, will continue to consume significant time, thus delaying the delivery of these high margin services and holding back market growth.

Secure automation of these commercial interactions is highly significant for the availability of services supporting the growth of productivity and the global economy. In the immediate term, demonstrations of automation of billable connectivity/compute/storage services are of great significance to CSPs and vendors of commercial and business platforms.

This PoC provides a powerful demonstration of the dramatic reduction in time and resources required by service providers and partner operators throughout the commercial and business phases of the lifecycle of each service, as well as the ability to offer new products and services with deployment times significantly shorter than the current typical weeks or months. The PoC is based on the distributed ledger paradigm where commercially-sensitive transactions and information are managed using blockchain technology. Although blockchain is popularly perceived as being synonymous with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, blockchain can be used for a large variety of applications of distributed ledgers, including global supply chain verticals. The PoC illustrates the automation of commercial interactions, including product offer discovery, recursive quoting, and blockchain-based settlement and clearing across a network of seven wholesale/transit operator domains.

In addition, automated commercial interactions require machine-to-machine interfaces standardized and designed in such a way that they can be used by most, if not all, the suppliers and customers of these connectivity, compute, and storage billable services. MEF is making progress in standardizing business interaction interfaces (LSO Sonata APIs) which form an important part of this demonstration. These APIs have been combined in this demonstration with smart contract technology in which pre-standardized commercial and business service attributes are captured and expressed dynamically in machine form.  This combination of MEF-defined APIs, smart contract technology, and the secure distributed ledger paradigm based on blockchain technology will enable the dramatic reduction of time and human resources in querying, quoting, ordering, billing, and settlement between stakeholders in the WAN-based services market, as well as the explosive growth of new services based on end-to-end, multi-domain, automation.

Save the date for MEF19, 18-22 November 2019, JW Marriott, LA LIVE, Los Angeles.

https://youtu.be/Lv8IH1ds4uc

Monday, July 23, 2018

Singtel plans 5G pilot for Q4

Singtel expects to kickoff its 5G trial by the fourth quarter of this year. The 5G pilot network, which will be conducted in partnership with Ericsson, will occr a0t one-north, the country’s science, business and IT hub. Singapore's Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) has allocated spectrum for the trial.

“5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries, as well as empower consumers with innovative applications,” said Mr Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer at Singtel. “We are pleased to take another bold step in our journey to 5G with our 5G pilot network at one-north and invite enterprises to start shaping their digital future with us.”

“This is an encouraging step towards commercialisation with live 5G trial networks made possible with the regulatory sandbox IMDA has in place,” said Ms Aileen Chia, Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms & Post) at IMDA.  “IMDA will continue to work closely with mobile service providers such as Singtel in their journey to build communication capabilities of the future and complement Singapore’s efforts towards a vibrant digital economy.”

At a “Bringing 5G to Life” event held at Singtel Comcentre this week, Singtel and Ericsson demonstrated c3D augmented reality (AR) streaming over a 5G network operating in the 28GHz millimetre wave spectrum. The event also showcased emerging technologies from partners – Garuda Robotics, Intel, Meta, Rohde & Schwarz and Sony.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Singtel seeks to increase stake in Bharti Airtel

Singtel will subscribe to new shares in Bharti Telecom under a proposed preferential allotment.

Specifically, Singtel International Investments will be allotted up to 85,450,000 new equity shares in Bharti Telecom at an issue price of INR310 per equity share. This will increase Singtel’s stake in Bharti Telecom by up to 1.7% for an aggregate consideration of approximately INR26.5 billion or S$555.6 million. Through this allotment, Singtel’s economic interest in Airtel will increase by 0.9 percentage point to 39.5%.

Airtel is India’s largest telecommunications company with operations in 16 countries across South Asia and Africa and a customer base of over 390 million. It has been an associate of the Group since Singtel acquired a stake in 2000.

Mr Arthur Lang, CEO International, said, “This is a good opportunity for us to deepen our strategic partnership with Airtel. While there are currently headwinds in India, we take a long-term view of our investment in Airtel which continues to be a strong market leader in a region with rapidly increasing smartphone penetration and mobile data adoption.”

Friday, January 5, 2018

Telecoms Market Update: Singapore

by James E. Carroll

Singapore, which boasts the world’s highest mobile penetration rate at over 150% and which has been ranked as the most "Tech-Ready Nation" by the World Economic Forum, is often cited as a living laboratory for advanced communication services given the compact size of this city-state and its excellent overall infrastructure.


In the telecoms sector, Singapore is a mix of state-owned incumbent operators (SingTel and to a lesser extent Starhub), tight regulatory and media controls, and small business start-ups. As we enter the 5G era, it is worth tracking the changes underway in this very dynamic market.
Singapore’s official regulatory body for telecoms and media, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), has published an Industry Transformation Map, setting out the vision for transforming the city-state into a fully digital economy. The goal is to grow the media and communications at a 6% CAGR, roughly twice as fast as Singapore’s overall economy, creating approximately 13,000 new jobs. This would mean 210,000 workers would be directly employed by companies in this sector by 2020, compared with 194,000 in 2016. 

Singapore’s Industry Transformation Map has three main thrusts:
  • One – invest in the four “frontier technologies,” namely Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics; Cybersecurity; Immersive Media; and Internet of Things;
  • Two – strengthen the core of the ICM sector and focus on education for the next generation of ICM professionals and companies;
  • Three – guide companies and workers from the other sectors to adopt digital technology to improve productivity and efficiency.

Encouraging investment and education has long been core to Singapore’s DNA. These are the principal factors which have made Singapore so successful to date.

The four frontier technologies are not surprising either. Everyone is chasing these four sectors, but Singapore’s ambition is better planned. In May 2017, a fund called AI Singapore was set up with S$150 million to catalyse, synergise and boost AI capabilities. A nine-month AI Apprenticeship Programme (AIAP) has also been established offering a blend of classroom, online and hands-on project work. The first AI apprenticeships will begin in March 2018.

The AI Singapore ecosystem currently consists of National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
The third thrust is interesting as it entails building a community between developers and users. This will take the form of a Strategic Partners Programme (SPP), which formally got underway in July. 
New collaborations with Memoranda of Intent (MOIs) were signed in November with three platform partners namely, IBM, Microsoft and Samsung to groom selected Singapore-based tech companies in their respective ecosystems.  IMDA expects these new partnerships to benefit between 80-100 companies. Huawei is also a strategic partner, signed in July 2017, with a goal to propel 35 Singapore-based tech companies.

The current market situation

There are three major networking infrastructure providers in Singapore, SingTel (Singapore Telecom, the previous incumbent operator), Starhub and M1. A fourth competitor, Australia-backed TPG Telecom, has regulatory clearance to enter the market and has launched initial services.  A local ISP known as MyRepublic is also attempting to become a mobile operator.



A brief background on StarHub

When Singapore first moved to abandon the monopoly status of SingTel in 1998, StarHub soon emerged as the likely favourite challenger. Starhub launched officially in April 2000 with the ST Telemedia, Singapore Power and two very powerful international carriers, namely, BT Group and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT). The new venture bought out some local ISPs and then merged with Singapore Cable Vision. During these early years, StarHub launched its mobile network and, with that, quickly established itself as a top consumer play for mobile, cable TV, and broadband Internet service. These consumer services remain core to the company today.

Temasek Holdings, which is a sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Singapore, holds an approximate 56% share of Starhub. The market capitalisation of Starhub is around S$5.032 billion (US$3.73 billion).

In 2009, Starhub was selected by Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to design, build and operate the active infrastructure of the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN). Four proposals were considered: Intellinet (Axia + Cisco), Kliq (M1), 1NNOV8 (Singtel) and Nucleus Connect (StarHub). The OpenNet consortium backed by SingTel was selected to serve as the Network Company (NetCo) of the Next Gen NBN. Under the NBN structure established by the government, the NetCo (OpenNet) is responsible for deploying fiber while the OpCo (StarHub) is responsible for delivering wholesale services to Retail Service Providers (RSPs).

StarHub in 2017 has been flat or mostly declining, except Enterprise

In Q3 2017, StarHub reported revenues of S$580.4 million, down 0.8 % compared to a year earlier. The slight decline was mainly attributed to lower service revenues from Mobile, Pay TV and Broadband services, along with lower sales of equipment. These trends have been playing out for the whole year, as the nine-month report showed a decline of 0.6% overall.

One positive area cited by the company in its quarterly report was Enterprise Fixed service revenue. The growth in fixed service revenue was partly due to the consolidation of Accel Systems & Technologies Pte Ltd (ASTL), a newly acquired cyber security solutions provider.

Revenue for PayTV services for StarHub continue to decline as they lose customers. StarHub’s income also declined as the government trimmed NBN grants by S$4.1 million in Q3. In Q3, StarHub’s CAPEX to sales ratio was 9%, fairly low for a network operator.

For its mobile division, StarHub’s subscriber base at the end of Q3 was 2.256 million, down from 2.275 million the previous year. PayTV is down 10k from last quarter and about 40k since last year. Broadband decreased by 1k over the last quarter and 9k over the last year.

CEO to step down, looking for new talent possibly from abroad

On November 17, 2017, StarHub CEO Tan Tong Hai announced his resignation, effective May 1, 2018. He has served as COO since 2009, later being promoted to the chief executive role in 2013. Under his leadership, StarHub underwent many changes, most significantly transforming from a strictly consumer-oriented service provider to include enterprise networking services. Sales to enterprise customers have grown to more than S$ 900 million annually. He chalked up several other notable achievements, including the acquisitions of mm2 Asia and Accel Systems & Technologies, the launch of an integrated fiber and cable home broadband solution, and the transition to an IPTV service.

The company has indicated that they are conducting a global search for his replacement. This is interesting because it suggests that StarHub may consider business ventures outside of Singapore going forward.

Another milestone this year has been the acquisition of Accel Systems & Technologies, a local cybersecurity specialist whose capabilities are expected to bolster StarHub’s enterprise portfolio. Accel will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Expanding the mobile infrastructure partnership with M1

For many years, StarHub has partnered with rival M1 to share mobile infrastructure costs. This has included combined antenna systems, in-building fibre and tunnel cables. In January 2017, the companies agreed to expand this relationship to include sharing radio access network, backhaul and access assets. It does not include the individual mobile core networks or support systems. The companies continue to compete for consumer mobile services. This infrastructure sharing agreement should benefit StarHub as it begins to roll out 5G.

APG submarine cable brings the capacity for new services, better prices

One of the factors contributing to the rise of StarHub’s enterprise division was the activation in late December 2016 of the Asia-Pacific General (APG) submarine cable network system. This added significant international capacity on the StarHub network. APG is a 10,900 kilometer submarine cable linking Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. APG gives StarHub direct access to telecom partners in each of the countries with a landing station, such as Shanghai Nanhui, Chongming as well as Hong Kong, where major Chinese telecommunication providers deliver connectivity and ensure competitive access to multinational businesses.

“Singapore is China’s largest foreign investor. To serve Singapore enterprises expanding to China, we are pleased to provide them with a new international connectivity on APG, catering for the growing economic activities between China and Southeast Asia,” said Benjamin Tan, Vice President of International Business, StarHub.

StarHub’s partnership with APG is also significant because it increases route diversity to other Asian countries via submarine cables such as Asia-Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2), Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE) and Asia-America Gateway (AAG).

Vodafone partnership opens a door to the outside

Unlike Singtel, which has numerous overseas investments and partnerships, StarHub has generally focused on only its local operations. Its most significant overseas partnership is with Vodafone, with whom it began a relationship four years ago, focused on mobile connectivity as well as co-branding and knowledge sharing initiatives. In November 2016, the companies agreed to expand this relationship to include high-speed data on Vodafone’s 4G networks for consumers. The partnership also gave a boost to StarHub’s enterprise services by helping them expand their businesses overseas via Vodafone’s International Enterprise network.

What’s next for Starhub?

In terms of revenue mix, mobile services have accounted for approximately 50% of Starhub’s turnover for past few years, with PayTV making up 15%, Broadband 8%, Enterprise 16% and sales of equipment (mobile phones, home gateways, etc.) making up the rest. There is little churn in Singapore’s mobile market but ARPU is falling as operators offer more and more generous data packages to subscribers. In the Pay TV segment, cord cutting continues to take hold. Starhub is losing subscribers every quarter even as it adds content with unique media partnerships. In broadband, Singapore’s excellent Nationwide Broadband Network (NBN), of which Starhub is a foundational player, delivers great performance/value to consumers but makes it difficult for operators to differentiate their services.  Outgoing CEO Tan Tong Hai has been right to focus on Enterprise services as a big growth opportunity, bring competition for advanced services and international connectivity to Singapore’s business community. Is it time to seek expansion opportunities abroad?

An Overview of Singtel’s international operations

The Singtel Group has been one of the most internationally expansive mobile operators, putting it in the category of Vodafone, Orange, Telefonica, Digicel, Etisalat and Zain. While most of the world’s mobile network operators find success only in their home market, Singtel is quite the global player. But instead of using its own brand wherever it goes, like Orange, the Singtel Group typically invests in a local player, keeping its distinct Singtel logo and Singaporean identity out of the public eye.
Through its six overseas investments, the Singtel Group currently touches 670 million mobile customers in 22 countries, with the largest concentrations being in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. In contrast, the population of Singapore is only 5.6 million – so you could say the company broadened its reach 100x by pursuing outside opportunities. For its own data network, Singtel has 370 PoPs in 325 cities.

Singtel’s major overseas holding include:

Australia - Optus – 100% share – Australia’s No. 2 mobile operator with 9.8 million customers for a 29% share of the market. Over 6 million of these subscribers are on the 4G network. The network footprint covers 95% of the population. Optus also serves 1.2 million broadband customers in Australia. For its most recent quarter, Optus delivered strong free cash flow of A$267 million up 21 percent from a year ago, despite higher capital investment in the network. Optus operating revenue was stable year-on-year at A$2,117 million with growth in mobile, mass market fixed and ICT & managed service revenues offset by lower equipment revenue.  Over the past few months, Optus went live with the world’s first three-carrier channel aggregation massive MIMO in Sydney, delivering speeds of over 800 Mbps. Optus expects to roll out this technology to other capital cities in the next six months.
Optus has also moved quickly down the path to transform into a mobile-led, multimedia content provider. The first step was the launch of Optus Sport, a 24/7 sports channel with on-demand and live multi-screen capability to broadcast Premier League football.  This has proven popular. Optus users have watched almost 13 million hours of Premier League and international football content including live matches, highlights, and expert analysis, since launch in 2016. Optus also offers data-free music and content streaming in selected prepaid and postpaid plans.  Its streaming partners include Netflix, Stan, ABC iView, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, and Google Play.

India – Bharti Airtel, in whom Singtel holds a 36.5% effective interest. Airtel is still the no.1 mobile operators in India with approximately 282 million customers for a 24% market share.  However, Airtel is under intense pressure from Reliance Jio, which is really shaken up the market with low pricing and generous data allowance. Earning here are under threat.
Through Bharti Airtel, which has its own international expansion strategy, the are 2 million more customers in southeast Asia and 82 million customers in Africa (Ghana, Niger, Chad, Gabon, Congo, DR of Congo, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Madagascar, and the Seychelles..

Indonesia – Telkomsel, in whom Singtel holds a 35% share. Telkomsel is no.1 in Indonesia with 190 million mobile customers for a 47% share of the market. Most recently, the company posted its fifth straight year of double digit revenue growth.

Thailand – AIS, in whom Singtel holds a 23% share. AIS has 40 million mobile customers, ranking it no.1 in the country with a 45% market share. The carrier has rapidly expanded its 4G network over the past year and now covers 98% of the population.

Thailand – Intouch, in whom Singtel has a 21% share. Intouch is an active investor in local telcos and media, and technology firms.

Philippines – Globe, in whom Singtel has a 47% share. Globe has 59 million mobile customers, giving it a 50% market share. For the first nine months of 2017, Globe’s service revenues climbed 6% over last year.  There were 3 consecutive quarters of record revenues for both mobile and home broadband. Mobile data contributed about 43% of total mobile revenues for the first nine months of 2017, versus 38% a year ago. Mobile data service revenues reached P31.3 billion as of end-September 2017, or 20% above the P26.1 billion reported in the same period last year driven by higher data usage and the continued growth in smartphone penetration, which increased to 70% for the period. Mobile data traffic likewise improved by 73% from 249 petabytes (PB) in 2016 to 430 PB this year. Globe home broadband business likewise reported a robust 8% year-on-year growth, delivering a total of P11.7 billion revenues as of end-September this year. An interesting note is that Globe is a big proponent of fixed wireless for home broadband service.


The international strategy has largely been successful. This year, the regional associates in whom Singtel is a major shareholder deliver 48% of the Group’s overall profits.  Its Optus subsidiary in Australia accounted for 22% of Singtel profits. Meanwhile, operations in its home city of Singapore yielded just 30% of profits. The good news is that consumers across Asia are upgrading to smartphones and signing up for 4G data plans. In the first nine months of 2017, the number of data subscribers surged past 220 million – a 12% increase from the previous year. Mobile banking is another clear opportunity.  In India, Airtel received a bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India and in January it launched Airtel Payments Bank to offer banking services across the country, with 250,000 Airtel retail outlets. The same is happening in the Philippines.

An Overview of Singtel’s domestic operations

The SingTel Group long held the title of being the most valuable company in southeast Asia by market capitalisation. This crown was lost in late November when DBS Group Holdings Ltd., which is Singapore’s largest bank, shot past SingTel on an upward stock price trajectory. Bragging rights aside, SingTel presently has a market cap of US$61.5 billion, which is roughly 12 times greater than that of its nearest rival, Starhub, which is currently worth about US$5 billion.

Though it is now organised as a publicly-traded company in a market open to competition much of its incumbency status in the city-state of Singapore remains. It’s top ten shareholders are revealing:



Notably, the majority share of 51% belongs to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. This same fund also owns a 56% share in Starhub – of course raising questions about whether competition is free flowing or managed. Would Temasek really encourage or even allow a serious price war to break out in telecom services in Singapore if it were to damage one of its key investments?

Next on the list of Singtel investors are “old money” – the established banks that guide the export economy of this Asian tiger. This suggests a conservative board that’s more likely to favor safe and predictable dividends over fast growth opportunities. The company has consistently delivered on these expectations and senior management is right in line. Singtel has headed by Ms. Chua Sock Koong (59) as Group CEO since 2007.  She joined Singtel in June 1989 as Treasurer before becoming Chief Financial Officer in April 1999. Her background is as a distinguished accountant. Bill Chang (50) serves as CEO of the enterprise and ICT division.


A brief timeline

·         Singtel enjoyed monopoly status until 1998 but rival Starhub really got going in the early 2000s.
·        In 2001, Singtel completed its acquisition of Optus Australia. Also in this year, Singtel was awarded its first 3G license.
·         In 2012, Singtel acquired Amobee, a mobile advertising technology company, for $321 million
·         In late 2012, Singtel activated its LTE network.

A networking showcase, especially for mobile

In Singapore, Singtel currently holds approximately 82% of the fixed-line market, 49% of the mobile market and 43% of the broadband market. Fixed line connections continue to evaporate here, as they do everywhere else in the world, but mobile and broadband churn are very low.

In its local mobile market, Singtel currently serves some 4.1 million subscribers, capturing 49% of the mobile phone market. As seen in the official market statistics covered in part 1 of this article, mobile Singtel network footprint is practically ubiquitous within the city-state. There is no place you can go where there is not LTE and/or any of Singtel’s 1,000+ Wi-Fi hotspots available. Of course, this level of penetration is easier to achieve when there is only 278 square kilometers to cover in the whole country. The geography and the population density make Singapore an ideal place to showcase the latest mobile technologies.  Already, Singtel’s 4.5G LTE delivers mobile data speeds at 500Mbps nationwide.

One example is Singtel’s interest in Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology. In a joint trial conducted recently with Ericsson, Singtel witnessed 1.1 Gbps of performance. The test leveraged 256 QAM and 4x4 MIMO, and aggregated two licensed and three unlicensed spectrum bands on a TM500 Test System device. Singtel and Ericsson are also working on 4.5G LTE and 5G in Singapore. Earlier this year, high download speeds of up to 800Mbps were achieved on Singtel’s LTE network by deploying 256 QAM downlink, 4x4 MIMO and triple carrier aggregation techniques. In October 2017, Ericsson and Singtel established a 5G Centre of Excellence to facilitate 5G development in Singapore.

In August, Singtel confirmed that it is working with ZTE to complete the live deployment of the 2.6 GHz Pre5G massive MIMO network at one Marina Bay site in Singapore to enhance Singtel's 4G service.  ZTE noted that its Pre5G massive MIMO is suitable for high-density scenarios and will be deployed to help guarantee service quality during the high data traffic volumes that will result from the crowd gathered at the location during Singapore National Day. The higher speeds will help to address the surge in mobile data traffic seen by Singtel.

Average data usage per post-paid subscriber
March 2015 – 1.9GB
March 2016 – 2.4GB
March 2017 – 3.5GB

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Singtel to rollout nationwide Cat-M1 + NB-IoT

Singtel of Singapore announced that it plans to roll out its nationwide cellular IoT network by the end of September this year with the aim of helping enterprises achieve operational and cost efficiencies through the use of low-power IoT devices.

The Singtel network will support Cat-M1 and NB-IoT technologies and will provide businesses with access to a network offering low-power consumption, extensive coverage and multiple connections. Singtel will also leverage its cyber security expertise to support businesses in implementing secure and reliable IoT solutions, and so address security concerns when deploying remote sensors and IoT devices.

Singtel noted that cellular IoT network can support devices with a battery life of up to 10 years through the use of both low-band and mid-band frequencies. A key feature of the operator's cellular IoT-over-Cat-M1 network is that it will enable businesses to make VoLTE calls in future using small, power-efficient portable devices such as wearables and trackers with voice capability.

Singtel stated that it has been exploring the use of IoT with local companies and large corporations across a diverse range of applications since 2016. Potential applications include environmental sensing, asset tracking, waste management and monitoring of medicine consumption.

In tandem with the deployment, Singtel will be inviting businesses and technology partners to try out and develop IoT solutions at the IoT Innovation Lab. Set up in collaboration with Ericsson, the Iab allows businesses to experience new IoT applications first-hand and develop business models.
* At Mobile World Congress 2017, Singtel and Ericsson presented their Assured+ Consumer Connected Device Solution (Assured+) IoT technology and showcased an IoT ecosystem for operators, networks and devices.

Jointly developed by Singtel and Ericsson, Assured+ is an integrated IoT solution designed to support connected cars and other emerging IoT applications for consumers.

Assured+ enables devices to connect across existing 3G/4G networks, NB-IoT and LTE Cat-M and is designed to support the adoption of such networks while speeding time-to-market for the launch of new services.

* Earlier in the year, Singtel and Ericsson announced a pilot of massive MIMO and cloud RAN technology on Singtel's 4G LTE network as part of the evolution towards 5G.

Monday, August 7, 2017

ZTE and Singtel trial Pre5G massive MIMO

ZTE announced that it has partnered with Singtel to complete the live deployment of the 2.6 GHz Pre5G massive MIMO network at one Marina Bay site in Singapore to enhance Singtel's 4G user experience ahead of Singapore's National Day celebrations.

ZTE noted that its Pre5G massive MIMO is suitable for high-density scenarios and will be deployed to help guarantee service quality during the high data traffic volumes that will result from the crowd gathered at the location during Singapore National Day.

ZTE stated that after site commissioning, the Pre5G massive MIMO cell experienced a significant increase in throughput, shared the traffic volume of busy macro-station cells and enabled significantly improved network speed to user terminals, as well as an enhanced user experience and increased overall service throughput in the region.

Separately, Singtel announced plans to deploy massive MIMO technology on its commercial LTE-Advanced network and using recently acquired 2.5 GHz spectrum with the aim of enhancing data rates by up to 200% at special events for its customers.

Singtel stated that it will team with Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE to deploy massive MIMO technology at the Marina Bay area, and will initially roll out the technology for the forthcoming National Day celebrations, with further deployments planned for the Singapore F1 Night Race and the New Year countdown event.

Singtel noted that it has identified massive MIMO as one solution to address growth in data traffic volume, and that it will specifically use massive MIMO base stations with an array of 64 antennas designed to improve spectral efficiency and cell capacity. The new antenna system channels signals to users' specific locations instead of broadcasting across a wide area, so multiplying the number of data paths from the base stations.

Singtel currently provides Singapore’s fastest national mobile data speeds of 450 Mbit/s, and recently launched 800 Mbit/s speeds in selected high-traffic locations.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Singtel launches 800 Mbit/s mobile data

Singtel of Singapore announced it is beginning a phased launch of near-gigabit speeds on its LTE Advanced network at selected high-traffic outdoor locations across the island, starting with Orchard Road.

Offering data rates of up to 800 Mbit/s, Singtel claims that the new service is Southeast Asia's fastest LTE mobile data peak speed, delivering up to 60% faster download speeds than existing LTE services that offer speeds of up to 450 Mbit/s.

The operator stated that the near-gigabit transmission speeds are enabled by scaling pre-5G technology solutions, 4 x 4 MIMO and 256QAM, combined with triple carrier aggregation (CA) of spectrum exclusive to Singtel.

Following the initial launch, customers with Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphones will be able to access the 800 Mbit/s peak speeds at the outdoor areas of Shaw Centre, ION Orchard and Tang Plaza along Orchard Road. Singtel noted that deployment at Orchard Road, Raffles Place and Clarke Quay is scheduled to begin by the end of August, while additional Cat 16 smartphones able to support gigabit speeds are expected to be launched later in the year.

The new 800 Mbit/s mobile service augments Singtel's existing nationwide 450 Mbit/s mobile data speeds. The operator noted that according to Singapore's regulator IMDA it currently offers the widest outdoor 4G coverage, as well as the highest mobile data rates on the island.



* Earlier this year, Singtel and Ericsson announced they were working together to pilot massive MIMO and cloud RAN on Singtel’s 4G LTE network as part of the evolution to 5G and delivering gigabit mobile data rates. Specifically, Ericsson supplied its AIR 6468 radio, providing 64T64R massive MIMO capabilities for testing prior to progress deployment on Singtel’s 4G LTE network.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Singtel Launches 450 Mbps Mobile Data Speeds

Singtel launched 450 Mbps 4G LTE-Advanced service in its home market of Singapore.

The 450Mbps service is available to all Singtel 4G customers at no additional charge. The first device to support the speed are the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.  LG V20 users will also be able to harness the higher speeds with a soon-to-be released software update. More compatible smartphone models are expected to be launched by early 2017.

“Singtel is investing ahead to deliver faster speeds and wider connections with the steady deployment of innovative technologies on our live network. With more customers consuming and sharing mobile videos, 450Mbps speeds will enable them to download movies in a flash and give them a better entertainment experience while on the go,” stated Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Singapore, Singtel.

The boost is made possible by Singtel’s nationwide LTE network upgrade to support 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, or 256 QAM, which increases the number of unique radio waveform shapes to carry up to 33.33% higher data and elevates spectral efficiency.

Separately, Singtel and Ericsson have demonstrated download speeds of up to 1Gbps in a live 4G network pilot at two sites in Pasir Ris. This was achieved by deploying 256 QAM downlink, 4x4 Multiple Input Multiple Output (4x4 MIMO) and triple carrier aggregation technologies. 4x4 MIMO doubles the number of data paths between a cellular base station and mobile phones, delivering a speed boost of up to two times normal speeds.

Singtel said it plans to progressively rollout 4x4 MIMO technology on its network starting next year to deliver up to 1Gbps speeds at selected high-traffic locations. Supporting mobile devices are expected to be ready by end 2017.

http://www.singtel.com

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Singtel's odd but patient long term strategy - Part 1

Preamble

SingTel is an odd organisation, halfway between a telecom assets holding company and a real operational hands-on telco. It fully controls only two telcos, namely Singtel Singapore and Optus of Australia, which are consolidated into its financial reports, but holds very substantial financially unconsolidated minority positions in key operators in several major Asian countries and through its share of Bharti Airtel affiliate relationships with operators in 16 African countries as well. Singtel claims the core company and its regional mobile associates, all 'leading players' in their respective markets,
reach over 600 million mobile subscribers across the region.

The company's long term strategy is not completely clear, but it is assumed, other things being equal, that in the longer term Singtel hopes to build up its holdings in some or all of the telcos in which it is invested. Singapore is an extremely rich, very technology-based society and telecommunications is a core platform for broad-based, knowledge-centred social innovations in such societies. Continued success in developing and implementing such innovations will probably be crucial to Singapore's future and ensuring it maintains its position as one of the world's leading economies. Ownership of a broad
range of quality Asia and Asia-Pacific telecommunication assets is not only a potentially good investment in its own right due to high economic growth rates, but also with time and increased investment offers a scale of operations commensurate with operators in countries like China and Japan, which can be used as a platform whereby those social and technical innovations can be fanned out economically worldwide and give Singapore a new source of quality exports.

The argument for already having full operational control of operations in Singapore and Australia is obviously because these are the most sophisticated countries in the Singtel portfolio, and markets in which those innovations are most likely to be generated or be piloted.

Singtel telecom assets portfolio

SingTel's holdings include the following:

Singapore: Singtel, the incumbent operator in the city state.
India: Singtel currently owns 32.9% of Bharti Telecom, the No. 1 Indian operator, and is in process of raising that to 36.2%.
Australia: Singtel owns 100% of Optus, the No. 2 operator in Australia.
Philippines: Singtel has an effective interest in Globe Telecom via a mix of directly held common shares and indirectly held preferred shares held by Asiacom, a 50/50 JV with Ayala Corporation.
Thailand : it holds a 23.3% direct stake and is in process of raising that to 31.8% through an additional indirect holding.
Indonesia: Singtel has a 35% stake in Telkomsel, the No. 1 mobile operator.
Bangladesh: it owns 45% of Citycell, a rapidly declining operator that looks likely to close.

Singtel relationship to Temasek Holdings

It is impossible to discuss Singtel without referring to the company's controlling shareholder Temasek Holdings (otherwise known as Singapore's Sovereign Wealth Fund), which is an investment company owned by the government of Singapore. Incorporated in 1974, Temasek owns and manages a net portfolio of S$242 billion ($180 billion), mainly in Singapore and Asia. It is an active shareholder and investor, and its portfolio covers a
broad spectrum of sectors including financial services, telecommunications, media and technology, transportation and industrial, life sciences, consumer, real estate, as well as energy and resources.

Temasek revenue for the financial year ended March 31, 2016 was S$101.5 billion, up from S$74,6 billion in 2007 with a CAGR of 3.5%. Temasek net profit in FY 2016 was S$15.6 billion and over the same nine-year period has been rather flat, averaging about S$14.6 billion within the range S$6.8 billion to $22.5 billion.

As of the end of the company's last financial 2015/16 year in March 2016, Temasek held a 51.0% stake in the company (and together with five other local investors owned over 90% of Singtel). Apart from holding a majority of Singtel's stock, Temasek Holdings also has a huge range of equity positions in a very wide range of other businesses in Singapore and elsewhere, some of which could be of immediate or longer term interest to Singtel as it leverages its telecommunications assets to encompass all other sectors of a fully smart society.


Singtel five year financial history
For years ending March 31st, in S$ billions, it reported:

                                     2016;        2015;           2014;           2013;          2012.
Group revenue:         16.961;        17.223;        16.848;        18.183;       18.825.
Singtel:                         7.663;         7.348;          6.912;          6.732;         6.551.
Optus:                           9.298;        9.875;           9.936;        11.451;       12.275.
EBITDA:                        5.013;        5.091;           5.155;          5.200;        5,219.

Share of associate PTP: 2.791;       2.579;               2.201;          2.106;        2.005.
Underlying net profit:     3.805;        3.779;               3.610;;         3.611;        3.676.
Group FCF:                      2.718;        3.549;               3.249;          3.759;       3,462.
Cash capex:                      1.930;       2.238;               2.102;          2.059;       2.249.

Comments by Group CEO Ms. Chua Sook Kong

Telkomsel was the standout performer, with pre-tax earnings for the year jumping 15% to S$1.1 billion on the back of increased voice and data usage. It also saw a significant increase in 3G and 4G subscribers, which now make up 42% of its total customer base.

In Thailand, AIS continued with its migration of 2G customers to 3G or 4G networks, against an accelerated network rollout with the 1800 MHz spectrum acquired last year. Airtel has secured pan-Indian spectrum for its 4G services, allowing it to provide seamless data services across the country. Globe in the Philippines continues to take share, thanks to increased network investment and innovative offerings.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Singtel and Ericsson Demo 5G Peak Rate of 27.5Gbps

Singtel and Ericsson conducted a live demonstration of Ericsson’s 5G Radio Prototypes.  The test achieved a peak throughput of 27.5Gbps and latency as low as 2ms.

Singtel noted that it progressing well on its 5G journey, deploying key pre-5G technologies such as LTE-Advanced (Carrier aggregation, 256QAM) on its live network and taking the next step to LTE Advanced Pro (LAA, NB-IoT).

Ericsson said some key capabilities of its 5G Radio Prototypes include multipoint connectivity with distributed multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) and 5G-LTE dual connectivity, to ensure a smooth evolution to 5G and rapid adoption of new 5G-based services.

Mr Tay Soo Meng, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, says: "We strive to upgrade our networks with cutting-edge enhancements, constantly offering our customers all the possibilities that technology brings. Singapore is at the forefront of the most connected cities in the world and now we want to take it to the next level. 5G is very important to the Singtel Group as it will support advanced communication needs. To ensure the Singtel Group continues our technology leadership in the mobile communications domain, we are exploring, studying and trialling pre-5G technologies with Ericsson."

Mr Magnus Ewerbring, Head of Technology Development, Asia-Pacific, Ericsson says; “5G will enable the full potential of Ericsson’s vision of the Networked Society and 5G performance will benefit consumers, business users and entire industries in Singapore. Together with Singtel we have launched many world-first and nation-first achievements with the 4G network since 2011 and we will be together at the forefront of 5G as well.”

http://www.ericsson.com

See also