SingTel preps IPTV platform test


SINGAPORE -- Singapore's dominant telecommunications company, Singapore Telecom Ltd. (SingTel), has been given the green light to test an IPTV platform that could pose the first real competition to the country's sole cable platform, StarHub Cable Vision.

The six-month trial license was announced Tuesday by the Media Development Authority of Singapore.

SingTel also has applied to the MDA for a commercial pay TV license, which it said will complement its existing commercial video-on-demand license.

In a separate announcement, SingTel said it has submitted a bid for the broadcast rights to English Premier League soccer matches.

SingTel said it will begin the high-definition IPTV technical trial this month using content from local production houses MediaCorp Studios and MegaMedia.

"We are also working with other content partners to provide entertainment services," SingTel said.

The HD IPTV test makes SingTel the third company to begin HD broadcasts in Singapore. The other two are monopoly free-TV station MediaCorp and StarHub Cable Vision. Both free-TV and cable HD trials are scheduled to run through the end of the year. Neither company has disclosed its commercial plans.

"MDA welcomes the entry of new players like SingTel as this will inject vibrancy into the Singapore media scene and offer consumers more choices," the MDA said.

SingTel also said today that its aggregate number of mobile subscribers in the region exceeded 100 million as of Sept. 30, an increase of 36% from last year. This is the largest mobile customer base in Asia outside of China.