SingTel CEO rejects dumb-pipe future

SingTel CEO rejects dumb-pipe future

24 FEB 2014

LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2014: Chua Sock Koong, group CEO at SingTel, is confident she will not preside over a dumb-pipe business. Through service differentiation and making full use of “unique network assets”, she believes operators can avoid commoditisation.

“Everybody worries about being dumb pipe, and whether revenues will be able to support network investment that we need to make,” she said at Monday’s keynote session, “but consumers and businesses will always need connectivity.”

Ms Chua argued operators are well placed because of growing demand for core services, which is resulting in increased usage. That’s a useful position from which to pitch new services, she argued.

“Any other industry would be excited and highly optimistic given the strong demand in growth for their core services,” she said. “However, the big problem we have as an industry is we have been unable to monetise this increased demand. ARPU in developed markets are going down.”

It means operators have to streamline their operations, she argued, and develop sustainable business models.

Ms Chua said the industry made a mistake with 3G, looking to fill up networks by offering unlimited data plans. But data volumes grew much quicker than expected and now the industry has to adjust.

To stimulate innovation, Ms Chua pointed to SingTel’s Digital Life unit. “It’s difficult to build new businesses within a traditional telco structure, which is why we set up a new unit for innovation,” she said. “Over two-thirds of the Digital Life team have been brought in from outside, which gives us fresh thinking.”

Ms Chua said she was looking at digital service partnerships with other telcos to share investment costs, as well partnering with internet players and research institutes.

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Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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