Sing­tel’s CEO con­cerned new com­peti­tor to fo­cus

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

SIN­GA­PORE: The head of Sin­ga­pore's big­gest phone com­pany said she's con­cerned the en­try of a new op­er­a­tor will drive the fo­cus of the com­pe­ti­tion to just price and will hurt the in­dus­try. Sin­ga­pore plans to auc­tion ra­dio fre­quen­cies for use by a fourth car­rier this year, chal­leng­ing Sin­ga­pore Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Ltd. or Sing­tel and its two smaller ri­vals. The reg­u­la­tor has been seek­ing in­dus­try feed­back since April 2014 to find a so­lu­tion to grow­ing mo­bile data traf­fic in the na­tion, whose 5.6 mil­lion res­i­dents rank among the most ac­tive users of so­cial me­dia in the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion. A new op­er­a­tor may not have as wide a net­work reach as the in­cum­bents. "The only way that they can gain cus­tomers will be by way of re­duc­ing prices," Chua Sock Koong, Sing­tel's chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, said in a Bloomberg Tele­vi­sion in­ter­view on Fri­day. "The ex­ist­ing oper­a­tors would look at how best to re­spond. Clearly just lead­ing prices down, it's not good for the sus­tain­abil­ity of the in­dus­try." In Novem­ber, Chua down­played the need for more play­ers in the city-state. Adding a fourth mo­bile-phone op­er­a­tor will give Sin­ga­pore more car­ri­ers than China or Ja­pan, which both have far greater pop­u­la­tions. May­bank Kim Eng Hold­ings Ltd. said last month it ex­pects in­creased com­pe­ti­tion to crimp profit mar­gins at the is­land's phone com­pa­nies and force them to cut div­i­dends.

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