StarHub Builds Momentum with China Deal

Singapore's new telecommunications company StarHub Pte. Ltd. has signed a deal with China Telecom Ltd. to allow customers of both carriers direct communication links between the two countries.

The deal gives customers here an alternative to incumbent operator Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) when StarHub begins commercial operations on April 1.

It brings the total number of bilateral agreements established by StarHub to 16 international carriers across 12 countries, including the U.S, the U.K. and Asia-Pacific regions, StarHub said in a statement Monday.

StarHub aims to establish direct links to more than 50 world-class carriers over the next few years and these direct routes are expected to carry up to 90 percent of StarHub's international voice and data traffic, the company said. By the commercial launch date, StarHub aims to offer IDD (international direct dial) services to more than 230 countries.

Now that the fixed-line monopoly in Singapore is about to be broken, the country's regulator Infocommunications Development Authority (IDA) is going to great lengths to ensure the newcomer gets fair treatment.

First, it has ensured that consumers can switch operators without having to change numbers. Second, it is launching a consumer education program about the new competitive environment, comprising briefings to community and business groups in January, and a nationwide mailing of an information booklet in Singapore's four official languages to all households in February.

StarHub is a consortium formed by Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTT), British Telecommunications PLC (BT) and two Singapore companies, Singapore Technologies Telemedia and Singapore Power.

StarHub can be found online at http://www.starhub.com.sg/.

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