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Singapore operator wins pay-TV, Internet and mobile rights for three years.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. said Thursday that it won a bid for broadcast rights for its pay-television service to show Barclays Premier League football matches for three years from August 2010, beating out rival StarHub Ltd.

The rights to the English Premier League games are for pay-TV, as well as Internet and cellphones, and will last from August 2010 to May 2013, SingTel said in a statement.

The news is a blow for StarHub, the incumbent pay-TV operator that has broadcast the league’s matches in Singapore since 1997. It submitted a competing bid against SingTel and holds rights for the league’s matches until the end of the current season in mid-2010.

Given the popularity of the football league in Singapore, analysts had expected the bidding process to be fierce.

“BPL rights are one of the most iconic content, enabling the winner to gain/retain its foothold in the homes of consumers,” CIMB said in a recent report.

SingTel also secured the rights to a suite of sports networks and services from ESPN STAR Sports for its pay-TV service from mid-2010, it said. SingTel didn’t disclose any financial details, however.

Source: Dow Jones Newswires

Singapore’s Starhub has reported that its second-quarter operating revenue was stable at S$532 million compared to S$531 million in Q2 2008. The Group’s EBITDA for the quarter rose 10% to S$161 million, and net profit after tax increased 21% to S$78 million.

Capital expenditure (capex) was S$24 million higher at S$70 million from a year ago.

Revenues for Fixed Network services and Mobile grew by 7% and 1% respectively. However, Pay TV and Broadband revenues contracted by 2% and 3% respectively. Mobile continues to be the major revenue contributor at 51%. Pay TV, Broadband, Fixed Network Services and Sales of Equipment contributed 19%, 11%, 15% and 4% respectively to the mix.

Mobile revenue grew 1% to S$272 million from S$269 million for the quarter. Post-paid mobile services revenue was 2% lower at S$208 million, accounting for 76% of the Mobile revenue mix. Pre-paid mobile services revenue rose 12% to S$64 million. Post-paid ARPU slipped S$8 to S$69, while pre-paid ARPU moved up S$3 to S$23. The lower post-paid ARPU was mainly attributable to decreases in voice IDD and outbound roaming usages.

“We are pleased with the results given the challenging business environment that we operate in. Our diversified revenue base has allowed us to mitigate the impact of softer demand due to the weakened economy in certain segments. Good cost containment has delivered excellent free cash flows with substantial headroom for sustaining our guidance on dividend payments,” said Mr Terry Clontz, CEO of StarHub. “However, as it is not clear whether we have yet seen the worst impact of the economic downturn on our business, we will remain diligent in looking for ways to control costs while pursuing
profitable growth.”

Nokia-Messaging-Comes-to-Singapore-on-M1-2Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia and M1, one of the leading wireless carriers in Singapore, have announced today that a new, easy-to-use email service is coming towards the latter’s customers. The new service, none other than Nokia Messaging, comes to mobile phone users in the country with push email functionality, as well as with a rather affordable price tag – not to mention the fact that they can set up their email accounts in three simple steps.

M1 has also announced that its subscribers can now choose bundled data plans especially designed to fit the new service, while also stating that users in Singapore now have the chance to enjoy the Nokia Messaging solution on a range of 20 Nokia devices. One of the plans the carrier offers is the SunSurf Lite data plan, which comes at only 5.35 SGD per month.

The mobile phone carrier has also mentioned that the SunSurf Lite data plan offers users 20MB of free data, which allows them to enjoy the benefits of Nokia Messaging on any compatible device. Moreover, customers will also be able to enjoy the service’s features, including having emails pushed on their handsets, or support for email service providers such as Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail. At the same time, the service offers support for local Internet service providers, including Pacific Internet, Cyberway and Qala.

“Almost everyone has a mobile handset and an email account these days, making Nokia Messaging an excellent way to access email on the go. By turning this application into a very affordable value-added service that is available on a wide range of Nokia handsets, we are confident that it will meet the needs of the many M1 customers who want to keep in constant email contact without incurring high mobile data charges,” said P Subramaniam, M1’s chief marketing officer.

Vlasta Berka, general manager, Nokia Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei, added that the new service that came through the collaboration between the two companies was meant to meet the continuously growing demand towards easy access of emails directly from mobile phones. “Nokia Messaging eliminates all the factors that have been barriers to mobile email adoption: it is easy to access and set up, it is easy to use and one can have up to 10 email accounts per device per subscriber. The idea is to make mobile email and messaging available to everyone,” Vlasta Berka added.

Source: Softpedia

SingTel announced that its mio TV service has surpassed its 100,000 customer mark. Milestone coincides with the service’s second birthday; all new and existing customers will be given a special selection of ten movies which they can watch on-demand for free.

SingTel also launched Football Frenzy, Singapore’s first multimedia social football experience, which will be available across the company’s online, mio TV and mobile platforms for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and Italian Serie A soccer tournaments.

ESPN STAR Sports is a production partner for SingTel’s Football Frenzy offering, which includes four mio TV channels: three linear and one on-demand. SingTel holds the cross-platform rights to all 146 UEFA Champions League, 149 Europa League and 120 Serie A matches.

Asked whether the Football Frenzy experience had been created with the English Premier League (EPL) as their ultimate goal, Edward Yong, chief of content & media services group, SingTel, said it had been created around the UEFA soccer. “But we would like the EPL to see what we have done,” in optimizing these tournaments across all three platforms.

The entire Football Frenzy package, across broadband, mio TV and mobile will cost S$15.90 (US$11) per month for a 12-month package. There is no sign-up fee, no basic tier requirement for mioTV; the online offering can be accessed from non-SingTel broadband accounts; the mobile component is available only to SingTel Mobile customers.

Source: Television Asia

Gartner assessed the suitability of APAC countries as offshore locations and identified “10 Leading Locations for Offshore Services in Asia Pacific for 2009.” These included the undisputed leader in offshore services, India, and the greatest challenger in terms of potential scale (China). The rest are a mix of mature environments that offer limited cost-benefits (Australia, New Zealand and Singapore) and emerging countries with a variety of challenges, but attractive costs (Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam).

Although India continues to grow in top-line revenue levels of IT services being exported, its share of the overall worldwide totals has declined as other countries are investing to gain more market share. Enterprises seek strategies to reduce risk, and India faces challenges. These include wage inflation, local attrition rates, geopolitical issues (including the Mumbai terrorist attacks) and the “Satyam Effect.”

Despite increases in investment, infrastructure remains India’s biggest weakness while strained power capacity and inadequate connectivity remain challenges. Some IT service categories such as application outsourcing have matured and the level of incremental growth is smaller.

What about China?

China is still attracting great interest. But it has challenges to buyer confidence including security, quality and intellectual property issues, relatively low English-language capabilities, and a scarcity of middle managers.

A large portion of the current market is geared to R&D-embedded engineering services, which differ significantly from commercial enterprise buyer requirements. Thus, there is a need to build strong process and quality maturity for delivery of IT services to commercial enterprises.

Marketing skills across the value chain of the outsourcing industry are still immature, which results in a lack of information access and authenticated, verified sources of data for decision-making. Given the immaturity of the market, organizations wishing to set up in China should plan and budget for more substantial levels of project management, change management and governance requirements.

Where else then?

The Philippines generates considerably more offshore revenue than China. The country has a history of providing services to the US and Asian markets. Some IT services have been exported for more than 15 years. It’s now a key outsourcing destination for call centers, finance and accounting.

English continues to be the predominant language in the country and the level of accent neutralization required is relatively low – significantly lower than in India and China. It has a good labor pool that’s scalable at low cost and its overall cost structure is lower than India’s. Wage inflation and attrition ratios are also lower.

When considering the Philippines as an offshore location, companies must be sure to establish adequate risk mitigation measures around intellectual property protection, security and privacy. They should also ensure they are comfortable with specific technology and industry knowledge before signing a deal.

Companies seeking to be pioneers in a large and untapped low-cost destination should investigate Vietnam. Opportunities exist, but rigorous due diligence is required. Salaries of IT and business process professionals are among the lowest in the world. Consequently, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are attracting a good deal of interest from major IT companies. Both IBM and CSC have made substantive investments in setting up global delivery centers in the country.

Companies should think carefully before allowing the cost base to overly influence their choice of Vietnam as an offshore destination. Understand all the risks, including hidden costs, risks related to data security, ease-of-doing-business issues and relatively low-level English-language skills. 

Source: Jim Longwood, Gartner

SingTel, Southeast Asia’s largest telco, on Sunday launched in Singapore a service that lets mobile subscribers download music files and videos which it hopes to introduce to other parts of Asia. Developed with Universal Music, SingTel hopes the web-based facility, called AMPed, will help it attract new customers as well as get existing subscribers to upgrade service plans. The two firms launched the new initiative at a media event attended by American pop star Lady Gaga.

“SingTel decided two years ago that the telco of the future needs to be more than just bits and bytes,” SingTel’s CEO for Singapore Allen Lew said. More than 50 percent of Singapore mobile users listened to music on their phones and SingTel needed to provide customers with information and entertainment as well, he said. SingTel, which owns Australia’s number two telco Optus and stakes in mobile phone companies in India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh, has been diversifying into content to reduce its reliance on “pure carriage.” It now provides a web-based pay TV service in Singapore as well as lifestyle Internet portals.

Rob Wells, senior vice president of digital at Universal Music, a unit of France’s Vivendi’s, said the firm hoped to develop similar services with other Asian telcos as it expected music sales via mobile phones to soar in coming years. SingTel and Universal Music’s AMPed works with 3G (or third generation) handsets from Nokia, Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson.

Source: Reuters News

  • British content now on Mio TV
  • Comes shortly StarHub’s announcement
  • BBC Worldwide and ITV content partners

Close on the heels of StarHub’s announcement of more BBC content on its pay TV platform, rival SingTel has unveiled the extent of its British content offering.

Come 15 July, mio TV will be able to broadcast selected content from BBC Worldwide TV Sales & Distribution and ITV Global Entertainment.

“These allow us to provide a comprehensive and high-quality range of the most current British content to our customers,” Low Ka Hoe, Director for IPTV Business, SingTel, said.

“We have observed a keen response to content offered on-demand, such as Season Pass, which allows viewers to access popular TV series as early as 24 hours after their US premiere. The BBC and ITV content on these channels will also be packaged to allow greater flexibility in the way it is viewed,” he said.

The new content will be offered as part of mio TV’s SuperSaver English Pack at $19.90 per month. As part of the channel restructuring, the current BBC linear channels on mio TV will no longer be available.

Pricing details for the new channels will be announced at a later date.

Source: Marketing Magzine