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  • Companies Expand Cellular, Internet Services in Singapore
  • August 28, 1998 (SINGAPORE) -- Singapore's telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers announced fresh rounds of expansion plans despite the economic crisis in southeast Asia.
    MobileOne Singapore Pte. Ltd. said it will invest S$80 million to expand its GSM network while Cyberway Pte. Ltd., an ISP, is expected to become the first vendor here to provider satellite links to the Internet.

    Also, WorldCom Inc. said it will make Singapore a regional telecom hub. It will establish a regional unit, CompuServe Network Services, in the country.

    MobileOne, a joint venture between two Singapore conglomerates, Cable & Wireless and Hong Kong Telecom, said it signed a deal with Nokia to expand its GSM network to support 300,000 additional cellular phone users. With the new investment, the company's total investment to date reaches S$210 million (US$118 million).

    Nokia will provide a high-capacity mobile switching system, several large-capacity base station controllers, an additional home location register, macro and indoor base stations as well as test equipment for MobileOne's main building.

    MobileOne said that high-speed circuit switched data will be introduced to allow increases in speed of up to 57.6kbps, compared with the 9.6kbps currently available through most other networks in the country.

    Cyberway, which is a part of Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. and which owns a stake in MobileOne, said it has completed six months of trials for Singapore's first Internet access via satellite. After investing almost S$750,000, Cyberway said it will soon be able to offer enhanced bandwidth to subscribers at minimal cost.

    All ISPs in Singapore are connected to the United States and the Internet via the Singapore Telecoms Internet Exchange, which is owned by the national telephone company.

    This connection, a T3 line, provides 45Mbps of bandwidth and is equally divided among Singapore's three ISPs.

    "Since half the world's Web sites are in the United States, the traffic coming into Singapore is often fully used for any ISP. The traffic from Singapore, however, is often underutilized," said general manager Cheah Cheng Poh.

    Cyberway addressed this by connecting to the United States via satellite, in addition to the regular T3 link via Singapore Telecom. The company will now receive an additional 2Mbps of traffic from the United States at half the cost it would have taken to set up an equivalent link via land lines, Cheah said.

    "With this new satellite link, Cyberway's bandwidth from the United States would be 17Mbps, and 15Mbps to the United States. The deal we have worked out also allows us to buy additional bandwidth to the United States at very attractive costs, all the way up to 45Mbps," he said.

    Meanwhile, CompuServe Network Services has established a Singapore subsidiary with plans to expand into Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines within the next 12 to 18 months. Initially, the company will offer its 56kbps dial, ISDN, X.25 and frame relay services in Singapore, said Dan Williams, international marketing director.

    The aim of the Singapore office is to allow international companies to conduct their business easily and efficiently by connecting their offices in Singapore to corporate intranets, local area networks and their other offices around the world.

    (Joseph Rajendran, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Thu Aug 27 15:43:35 1998 PDT