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Singapore: Roll-out of 4G Networks to Spur More Mobile Internet Technology
Source: channelnewsasia.com
Source Date: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Institution and HR Management
Country: Singapore
Created: Jun 19, 2012

SINGAPORE: Seven in 10 Singaporeans are mobile Internet users, according to mobile advertising technology company Smaato.

With the roll-out of 4G networks this year, mobile data usage is set to further increase in the coming years.

Using WhatsApp for instant messaging is fast replacing the traditional SMS.

That's why telcos in Singapore are aiming to turn mobile data into a major revenue generator, in addition to traditional voice or SMS services.

If someone just uses a smartphone to WhatsApp in groups and send and receive emails, he's part of the 90 per cent of subscribers SingTel said will be unaffected by the new data plans.

But some experts forecast data usuage to increase when 4G or LTE is adopted, citing South Korea, where 3GB of data is being used every month.

Experts said exclusive and attractive content, and the reliability of the mobile data network are key to retaining subscribers.

Marcus Tan, managing director (APAC), Smaato, said: "We are seeing a convergence of the traditional telco and media companies... coming together to be able to offer not just the connection but also the content. If I have content but have no way of distributing it to a consumer on the move, it's not going to work. If I have data connection but have no content, the consumer is not going to like it."

SingTel recently announced that its new and recontracting subscribers of bundled data plans will no longer enjoy a cap of 12GB of data, save for its premium plan subscribers.

Similarly, StarHub said it will remove its 12GB data cap for smartphone contracts "in the near future".

M1 declined to reveal its plans.

Bertrand Bidaud, managing vice president, SCP Strategy, Gartner Research, said: "The competitive landscape in Singapore is not quite well established and it doesn't seem like anyone of them wants to change the situation to disrupt the order too much."

Still, with the roll-out of the 4G network and the introduction of more 4G smartphone models, market watchers expect telcos to explore more options to monetise this trend.
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