IDA encourages more competition in telco market

Mr Albert Wong Kwan Wei asked the authorities to consider allowing another mobile network operator to offer services in Singapore ("Consider opening up telco market"; April 22).

Singapore's telecommunications service market is fully liberalised and open. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) does not restrict the number of players in the mobile communications market unless limited by resource constraints.

We set aside radio frequency spectrum for a fourth player to enter the market in the 4G auction last year. However, no new player came forward.

The IDA recently launched a public consultation to seek views on the proposals to enhance competition in the mobile communications market by facilitating the entry of mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs.

The introduction of MVNOs may inject more competition and vibrancy in the mobile market, leading to more competitive and innovative services.

Mr Wong also raised concerns on the similarity of pricing of telcos' 4G services.

Competitors may choose to price their services at or near the price levels of other competitors. Commonly known as "shadow pricing", this practice is not uncommon in liberalised and competitive markets beyond the telecommunications sector, and does not violate competition law or regulations.

Operators, however, are strictly prohibited from entering into agreements to fix prices, reduce output, or share markets. If there is any evidence to suggest collusion, the IDA will investigate and take enforcement action.

Ng Sook Fun (Ms)

Director, Corporate & Marketing Communication Division

Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

This article was published on April 30 in The Straits Times.

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