IDA given power to split up operators

Dylan Bushell-Embling
22 Nov 2011

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA Singapore) has been granted potentially significant new regulatory powers, but has pledged to wield them only as a last resort.

The Singapore parliament has passed a series of amendments to the nation's Telecommunications Act, including giving the telecom minister the right to order the structural separation of an operator, Channel News Asiareported.

Under the new law, the government may force a telecom operator thought to be impeding competition in a segment by virtue of its size to spin off some assets into a separate company.

Another set of amendments would enable the government to allow the takeover of a telecom service by a third-party in the event of insolvency by the owner.

IDA Singapore will also be able to levy heavier fines on operators, and have the ability to suspend or even revoke telecom licenses if the penalties aren't paid by the due date.

Due to the commercial implications of the separation order in particular, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim has promised to use this power only after regulators have exhausted every other option.

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