Australian hosting center rounds out SingTel's dozen

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) will extend its Asia-Pacific managed hosting center network to 12 countries when it opens a center in Sydney next month.

The center, to be run by SingTel's Australian subsidiary Optus, will join existing fully-owned facilities in Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong. SingTel also has agreements with local hosting center partners in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, India and China.

SingTel has built the regional hosting network, known as Expan, around its cable network, which includes its own C2C and i2i cables, plus the APCN2 and SEA-ME-WE cables in which it is a stakeholder.

The Expan project targets multinational companies who want to outsource their regional telecommunication, server and data storage needs and want to have a single point of contact with a supplier, SingTel said.

Typical Expan services include system administration and maintenance, security services, database administration performance, monitoring and fault management, problem resolution and technical support, according to SingTel.

The hosting, or data center business is a key new market for telecommunication operators, according to Titus Yong, chief operating officer of SingTel's managed hosting services.

"Telco backbone players are natural winners in the emerging managed hosting business," he said at a briefing Wednesday. "It adds a managed hosting environment and IT operations support to the telecommunication services we already offer. It is complementary with SingTel as a regional telco."

The Asia-Pacific market for hosting services is growing at around 30 percent per year, from S$1.1 billion (US$602 million) to an estimated S$2.5 billion in 2005, SingTel said.

SingTel's aim is to take 8 percent of this market, which has a number of international players such as Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), Reach Networks Ltd., Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd.

SingTel said it will consider adding other countries to the Expan network if it sees strong demand in a particular country. The company is already in discussions with telecommunication carriers in Europe and the U.S. to extend the Expan network in those regions, SingTel said.

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