Global One Builds on Telecom Deregulation

SINGAPORE (07/13/2000) - Telecommunication deregulation has and will continue to benefit customers in Singapore, according to Global One Communications Inc.

Global One has also revealed plans to migrate its customers from Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.'s (SingTel) network to its own infrastructure when the company completes the erection of an operation center here in October.

Having recently obtained a facilities-based operator license from Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Global One is currently building a network operation center here which is slated for completion in October, according to David Rich, assistant vice president and general manager, Global One Communications Southeast Asia.

The France Telecom subsidiary also has a services-based operator license from IDA. Once the center, which will include a Web hosting facility, is operational, Global One will eventually migrate its customers to its own global network infrastructure, Rich said, noting that this transition will be transparent to the customers.

All Global One customers are currently running over SingTel's network -- the remnant of the country's pre-deregulation days.

Before market liberalization, companies such as Global One were unable to offer voice, IP (Internet Protocol), or voice-over-IP services, and were prohibited from operating their own facilities in Singapore, Rich explained. SingTel was then the sole provider of communications links leading out of Singapore.

Market regulation led to "higher than average prices" due to local operational costs, and customers were "constrained in utilizing communications in the best manner they wanted to (and could in other global offices situated in liberalized markets)," he added.

And because companies ran at high operational costs in a pre-deregulated Singaporean market, they were unable to justify significant investments or customer service presence in the country, he said.

When queried if prices will fall after Global One moves its customers to its own network, Rich said, "pricing in Singapore has already been falling because of the market deregulation".

"(Price reduction) is an ongoing process, by how much it will fall depends on the products and services offered," he said, noting that the key issue also is to maintain margins amidst falling prices. "Singapore did good in deregulating early," Rich said, adding that Global One's activities in Southeast Asia centered around Singapore which serves as the company's hub for this region.

Global One is targeting to grow its business in Asia-Pacific to one-third of the company's total revenue by 2005, said V S Gopi Gopinath, head of Asia-Pacific, Global One. Gopinath added that the global carrier is aiming to maintain its growth of over 21 percent on global data and Internet products.

Global One is also undertaking a stronger focus on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which is "is proving to be an important market for us", Rich said.

The company's recent split from former parents Sprint and Deutsche Telecom is also proving to be a good move, because it is easier having just one parent -- France Telecom -- than three parents which have different views on how the company should move forward, Rich said.

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