LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 ASIA PACIFIC, SINGAPORE: Singapore government minister Janil Puthucheary (pictured) highlighted the need to encourage early investment in digital initiatives by continuing public funding to keep pace with technology advances.

In a keynote, Singapore’s senior minister for Communications and Information and also of Health noted the government earmarked SGD25 billion ($18.1 billion) in R&D funding until 2025 to drive transformative technologies, supporting efforts to maximise the benefits of digitalisation to create jobs and fuel growth, along with managing related challenges and risks.

The minister argued trust is the “bedrock of our digital future”.

“Only with that sense of trust can people have the confidence to transact and engage in that ecosystem.”

As a small nation, he noted Singapore always embraced the idea of forced reinvention to stay competitive. With new technologies including 5G, its approach was to “invest ahead and invest early” in key infrastructure.

Puthucheary emphasised the importance of learning from best practices in other countries, understanding new business models and keeping up with changing customer needs. “We’re deepening collaborations with other governments and industry partners in the region and globally” around interoperable and secure digital frameworks.

Technical partnerships and trials allowed operators to better understand and develop the capabilities of technologies such as open radio access, he explained.

He noted it is now assumed digital transformation will apply to every aspect any new government initiatives, without highlighting them as smart nation or technology projects.

“I think that’s a marker of the success that we’ve had over the past six years.”