StarHub to Shake up Singapore Telecom Market

SINGAPORE (03/30/2000) - International telecommunications consortium StarHub Pte. Ltd. will introduce new service and pricing models that will shake up Singapore's cozy telecommunications market when the company begins operations on Saturday, StarHub announced today.

StarHub will introduce "guiding principles that challenge many of the practices Singapore consumers have long been forced to live with," the company said in a statement.

StarHub will be the first mobile phone operator here to offer Calling Party Pays (CPP), removing the costs to consumers answering calls made to their mobile phones. This will increase the use of mobile phones by making the service more affordable, StarHub said.

StarHub will also introduce per-second billing rather than charging for mobile and international telephone services in time blocks, which causes customers to pay for time they never used.

"All over the world, consumers have appreciated the principle that they should only pay for what they use," StarHub said in its statement. "Singapore is one of the last countries to cling to the archaic practice of systematically overcharging customers, and we're delighted to mark the end of unfair billing for Singapore."

StarHub will offer a single mobile phone rate to replace the "labyrinth" of pricing schemes encountered with existing operators Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) and MobileOne Asia Pte. Ltd., StarHub said in the statement.

StarHub, which was the first ISP (Internet service provider) in Singapore to offer free Internet surfing, has said it will continue that offer indefinitely.

StarHub is expected to offer very competitive rates for international voice calls when it announces its full pricing plans on Saturday.

SingTel today responded by offering a 50 percent discount on international calls for the month of April. But it faces the traditional challenge of incumbent telecommunications operators -- how to remain price-competitive in a deregulated market, while also generating sufficient profit to sustain a large, traditional organization.

Although a total of 58 telecommunications licenses of various types were handed out during yesterday's "Big Bang," [See "Singapore Grants Five Major Telecoms Licenses," Mar. 29] only StarHub is expected to begin offering services on the first day of deregulation, April 1.

The StarHub consortium's partners are British Telecommunications PLC, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTT), Singapore Technologies Telemedia and Singapore Power Ltd.

StarHub can be reached at +65-880-5167 or online at http://www.starhub.com.sg/.

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