Broadcast and Telecom Market Brief in Singapore

A Hot Tip about IT and Telecommunications in Singapore

Posted on: 18 Feb 2010

Summary

Singapore is one of the most wired countries in the world, with a nation-wide network of fiber optic cables. The World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report ranked Singapore fifth in the world in 2008, while the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) E-readiness Report ranked Singapore sixth in the world in 2007 and 2008. The Government of Singapore plays an important and active role in promoting the adoption of ICT in the country. It was ranked number one in Accenture’s e-Government Customer Service Maturity Ranking 2007.

 

Despite the worldwide economic downturn, there are still good opportunities for U.S. vendors to sell applications and solutions to Singapore and through Singapore. It is a leading adopter of state-of-the-art technologies in the region and a major entrepot. Singapore is dependent on imports and U.S. products are traditionally well received. Best prospects include equipment, content, software and technologies for broadband, wireless broadband, 3G, and IPTV.

 

Market Demand

Telecommunications and Internet facilities in Singapore are state-of-the-art. Third generation (3G) mobile networks and services were rolled out in the country in early 2005. Consumers currently receive wireless data through their mobile phones at speeds of up to 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps). In March 2009, Starhub, one of Singapore’s three mobile operators announced that it had completed upgrading its mobile broadband network to support download speeds of up to 21 Mbps. The other two operators reported they will also launch their 21 Mbps service in 2009. 3.5G networks based on the HSDPA standard as well as WiMAX networks have been deployed in the country.

 

'Cyber cafes' are popular and Internet connections are available in most hotels. Internet users can go online for free at more than 7,500 Wi-Fi hot spots island-wide. The wireless broadband service dubbed Wireless@SG enables people to go online at public places such as shopping malls, town centers and the business district.

 

Besides a nationwide broadband network infrastructure, Singapore is well connected by multiple satellite and submarine cable systems with more than 30 Tbps of potential capacity supporting international and regional telecoms connectivity. It has more than 100 Gbps of direct international internet connectivity to economies such as the US, China, Japan, India, as well as some countries in Europe and ASEAN.

 

According to IDA’s Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage by Enterprises, the penetration rate of computers and the Internet including broadband access was 100% for companies with more than 200 employees in 2008. For companies with less than 10 employees, computer usage rate was 71%, internet usage rate was 67% and broadband usage rate was 59%. Athough the digital divide remains between the larger companies and the smaller enterprises, there is a general rise in infocomm usage among SMEs, with the largest growth in the area of broadband usage. The top Internet applications/services used by Singapore businesses remained sending/receiving emails, information search, followed by activities involved with dealing with government agencies such as downloading of government forms, on line payment, obtaining information from government agencies, etc. The most common mode of Internet connection is xDSL (54%), followed by Wireless Access1 (42%), Cable Modem (24%), Dedicated Private Leased Line (16%), Analog Modem (13%) and ISDN (6%). More than half of the enterprises with 50 or more employees accessed the Internet wirelessly while 4 out of 10 smaller enterprises accessed the Internet wirelessly. Overall, the most popular mode of Wireless Access is via Wi-Fi. The services most commonly accessed wirelessly using mobile devices are Email, Internet Browsing and Instant Messaging. Laptops remain the most widely used mobile devices for wireless access, followed by 3G mobile phones.

 

According to the IDA’s Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in households, 80% of Singaporean households had access to a computer at home in 2008 while the access rate rose to 94% for those households with school-going children. Seventy six percent of households had home Internet access and 99% of these households are connected to the Internet via broadband.

 

The Government of Singapore (GOS) plays an active role in developing the ICT industry in the country. The GOS will partly fund the construction of the Next Generation National Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN) estimated to cost US$2 billion and slated to be completed by 2012. Business users can expect to have ready access to ultra high-speed broadband connectivity of 1 Gbps or more to support data-intensive transactions such as real-life highdefinition video conferencing and graphics-based data visualization. Small and medium enterprises will be able to tap into grid computing applications and data storage facilities at competitive rates while students will be able to make use of visually immersive and interactive learning applications for a richer and deeper educational experience. Sixty percent of homes and offices are expected to have access to this new, pervasive, all-fiber network in 2010.

 

MediaCorp TV, Singapore’s only terrestrial broadcaster, provides six terrestrial free-to-air channels to homes in the country. StarHub Cable Vision is the main provider of paid television in Singapore with 524,000 households subscribing to cable TV -- a market penetration of 46%. The only pay-TV competitor to StarHub is SingTel’s IPTV service called mioTV that is delivered over a broadband connection. To facilitate the growth of IPTV services in Singapore, the Media Development Authority announced a two-tier license framework for IPTV in January 2007.

 

MediaCorp TV, Singapore’s only terrestrial broadcaster, provides six terrestrial free-to-air channels to homes in the country. StarHub Cable Vision is the main provider of paid television in Singapore with 524,000 households subscribing to cable TV -- a market penetration of 46%. The only pay-TV competitor to StarHub is SingTel’s IPTV service called mioTV that is delivered over a broadband connection. To facilitate the growth of IPTV services in Singapore, the Media Development Authority announced a two-tier license framework for IPTV in January 2007.

 

The GOS aims to transform Singapore into a global vibrant media city and the Media21 blueprint envisions developing the country as Asia’s leading media marketplace and financing hub, producing high quality content and digital media development.

 

In line with its vision, the GOS announced in December 2008 the designation of a dedicated area in Singapore for the development of the media and film industries. Called Mediapolis, the 19 hectare plot of land is envisaged to be a hub that will house a media ecosystem comprising soundstages with green screen capabilities; digital production and broadcast facilities; interactive digital media (IDM) and R&D activities; Computer-generated Imagery and visual effects; post-production, games and animation; industry-response digital media schools, business parks, work lofts and incubators; intellectual property (IP) creation and digital rights management. Local media production firm Infinite Frameworks announced in December 2008 that it will invest between US$53 million to US$80 million to build Singapore’s first purpose-built soundstage complex in the Mediapolis. With such facilities available, Singapore hopes to attract foreign studios to shoot movies here and encourage its local fledging film-making industry to make larger, more complicated movies.

 

Several foreign media related firms have set up offices in Singapore, including Britain’s special effects company Double Negative, U.S.’s LucasFilm Animation, Linden Lab, and EA, and France’s Ubisoft. Italian animation studio Rainbow announced in November 2008 that it will invest US$16 million in a new studio in Singapore to create virtual world based on its popular Winx Club fantasy franchise.

 

By Chia Swee Hoon

 

Read the full market research report

 


Posted: 18 February 2010

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