SingTel opens up AMPed music service to rivals amid OTT threat

Summary:Amid competition from Spotify and Google, the Singapore telco believes its 4-year-old streaming service will hold its own with a stronger regional catalog and buffering technology to retain customers.

Singapore telco SingTel has opened up its previously exclusive AMPed music streaming service to subscribers of other carriers, amid a rising threat from over-the-top (OTT) players such as Spotify and Google.

amped

AMPed factsheet

- Launched by SingTel in 2009, it offers unlimited music streaming on mobile devices free of charge.

- Previously exclusive for SingTel subscribers, it now functions like an OTT app for customers across all carriers.

- Premium plans are available with no ads, unlimited track downloads, and offline mode.

Since its launch in 2009, AMPed had been restricted to SingTel subscribers until it was quietly made available to all telcos at the start of May. It's offered as both a paid and ad-based service.

The move comes a month after Spotify muscled its way into Singapore and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region. The landscape has since become even more competitive with Google's launch of a similar service on Thursday called Play Music All Access, which is aimed at rivaling Apple's iTunes.

Allen Lew, CEO of group digital life at SingTel, noted the company's music service had created some traction, and has allowed it to enhance the telco's core product of mobile data in Singapore.

People who subscribe to AMPed have a lower churn and tend to take up a higher speed mobile data plan, Lew pointed out. He was speaking at the telco's fourth quarter earnings  briefing on Wednesday.

"Of course now we are competing against a global brand called Spotify. We still believe with AMPed we have a couple of interesting differentiators," said Lew, in response to ZDNet's queries.

Stronger regional line up, buffering tech

SingTel highlighted 3 main differentiators for SingTel's AMPed service:

  • A stronger regional line up, compared with Spotify
  • A unique streaming technology enabling the first 10 to 15 seconds of a music track to be buffered to reduce disruptions in weak coverage areas
  • Social and gamification element, including sharing of playlists, exclusive showcases such as autograph sessions and concerts such as Lady Gaga's in 2009 and 2011

"We are confident that AMPed will remain a favorite for Singapore music lovers because it caters specifically to the tastes of Singaporeans ," a SingTel spokesperson told ZDNet.

The majority of local artistes are available through AMPed, he added. These include independent acts such as SIXX and The Great Spy Experiment, as well as music from independent labels such as S2S and Ocean Butterflies that offer a wide range of Chinese-language artistes . It also includes homegrown Chinese music talents, such as Olivia Ong, Hanjin, Tay Kewei, Tay Kexin and Ming Bridges.

SingTel added it also carried all major international music labels such as Universal, EMI, Warner, Sony Music, as well as Asian and international indies such as Rock Records, EEG, Gold Typhoon, Beggars Group, and Domino Records.

The telco's music service currently offers over 5 million songs, compared to Spotify's library of over 20 million songs, while Google's service has over 18 million songs.

For non-SingTel subscribers, AMPed's paid service currently costs S$12.98 (US$10.33) per month, more than Spotify's S$9.90 (US$7.88) per month. All SingTel subscribers will have their data charges relating to the use of the service waived, and can get a lower rate from S$7.90 (US$6.28) on a 12-month contract or S$9.90 (US$7.88) per month without contract, the company said.

Singapore telco rival StarHub has also been pushing its own music streaming service with Music Anywhere, available also for StarHub non-customers. Powered by KKBox, a subscription will cost S$9.90 (US$7.88) per month and will work on computers.


Topics: Telcos, Networking, Singapore, SingTel

About

Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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