October 16, 2012 by SGE
SingTel Group (Z74.SI), a publicly-traded company in the Singapore stock exchange, is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. It has a total mobile subscriber base of 462 million users in 30th June 2011, up 11% from a year ago.
Besides being the leading operator in Singapore with 46.4% market share, it is a shareholder in major telco companies and non-mobile firms around the world. Earnings outside Singapore, the location of its global headquarters, make up more than 70% of the group’s revenue. Quarterly net profit from April to June 2012 was SGD945 million (USD759 million), up from SGD916 million in the same period in 2011.
SingTel owns significant minority stakes in operators in Thailand (AIS), India (Bharti), Philippines (Globe), Bangladesh (Citycell), Indonesia (Telkomsel), Pakistan (Warid), an Sri Lanka (Lankacom). It has 100% ownership of Optus in Australia. Besides the traditional carrier business, SingTel also runs non-mobile businesses under wholly-owned subsidiaries SingNet and SingTel Digital Media (STDM). SingNet is an internet service provider while STDM manages inSing.com, a content portal developed in-house.
In March 2012, SingTel underwent regional restructuring to focus on IT innovation. It divided itself into 3 units, Group Consumer, Group ICT, and Group Digital Life. Each group has its own CEO. Consumer focuses on mobile consumer experience, ICT provides technology solutions to enterprise customers, while Digital Life provides a whole suite of consumer technology services, such as smart TV, digital books and magazines, music, digital concierge, cloud-based gaming, and hyperlocal content.
Strategic acquisitions and investments in innovative tech startups
SingTel recognizes that the traditional telco business is undergoing disruptions, and as such has embarked on a series of measures to invest and acquire technology. In September 2010, SingTel started Innov8 (view profile), a wholly-owned venture capital firm focusing on “technologies and solutions that lead to quantum changes in network capabilities, next generation devices, digital content services and enablers to enhance customer experience”.
It has also formed a Regional Seed Network consisting of seed incubators under the SingTel Group. The network consists of SingTel Innov8, The Optus Innov8 Seed Program in Australia, Kickstart Ventures in Philippines, and AIS The Startup in Thailand. It has also launched the LifeLabs initiative to invest and commercialize technology in places like Israel, Silicon Valley, and Boston.
To bolster its digital services, SingTel has in 2012 embarked on a recent string of acquisitions of tech startups around the world. The guiding vision behind its plan has been dubbed Project Magellan. It identifies key areas in the digital industry expected to experience a boom: online recommendations, digital advertising solutions, home technology, education, and e-commerce.
SingTel has spent at least US364.4M to acquire 7 startups, either in part or whole. See: Cheatsheet of SingTel acquisitions.
In-house digital products
SingTel has developed a range of digital services to complement its mobile business. These include:
- inSing.com, a content portal covering news, lifestyle, and entertainment
- AMPed, a Spotify-like music streaming service with a monthly subscription fee
- mio TV, a digital pay TV service
- Skoob, an e-book reader and marketplace
- NewsLoop, a Flipboard-like e-reader for localized content.
- It has also jointly-developed an NFC mobile wallet app with EZ-Link.
Through acquisitions and in-house development of SaaS and mobile services, SingTel is positioning itself as an end-to-end solutions provider for both consumers and enterprises. On the enterprise front, led by Group ICT, it has penetrated spheres such as government, education, healthcare, logistics, finance, and enterprise mobility.
Timeline of SingTel’s digital activities
See SingTel’s organization chart.
Chairman: Simon Israel
Group CEO: Chua Sock Koong
Group Consumer CEO: Paul O’ Sullivan
Group Digital Life CEO: Allen Lew
Group ICT CEO: Bill Chang
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About The Author
SGE - (SGE)
Covering the Singapore and Southeast Asia startup and entrepreneurship scene since 2005.Read other posts by SGE