SingTel taps ST Electronics for broadband IP sat push

21 Jun 2006
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SingTel has awarded a contract to Singapore Technologies Electronics for solutions to beef up its satellite services portfolio with satellite-based broadband IP services for Asia .

Under the contract, worth an initial $1 million, ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems), an ST Electronics subsidiary, will supply SingTel with hubs from iDirect, stabilized antennas and remote equipment to roll out high-speed satellite networks that can support IP voice and data.

Titus Yong, head of SingTel's satellite business, said at a press conference during CommunicAsia2006 that the maritime and remote communications sector was ripe for two-way IP broadband connectivity over satellite.

"We have been doing VSAT services for a long time, but traditional VSAT is expensive, and it is one-way traffic," Yong said. "Two-way IP broadband over satellite is much more cost-effective and more attractive for our customers."

In the maritime sector, for instance, Internet cafes were very much in demand on luxury cruise liners, Yong said. "Ship-to-shore communications for passengers is very expensive and limited. We can deliver IP capability to a ship at savings of at least 10% while giving them the ability to earn extra revenues by offering more connectivity options to their passengers."

SingTel's maritime focus is augmented by the fact that it is a reseller of Inmarsat's BGAN broadband satellite service.

In addition to offering more than 430 kbps of symmetrical IP connectivity, BGAN also allows resellers to offer more flexible service packages to users, says Perry Melton, Inmarsat's sales and marketing VP.

"IP allows us to offer more flexible packages similar to mobile phones, where you can either pay as you go per megabyte or buy blocks of megabytes at a discounted price," Melton said.

Yong said the potential maritime market in SingTel's coverage area numbered around 8,000 ships, including fishing companies, leisure cruise ships and cargo shipping.

Yong also said SingTel would target the rural communications market, supplying broadband connectivity to supplement areas underserved by fixed-line broadband or 3G.

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