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SingTel Group

The country's oldest telecom, SingTel has been in operation for more than 120 years and is the largest company listed on the Singapore Exchange, with a market capitalization of more than US$25.7 billion.

The country's oldest telco, Singapore Telecom (SingTel) has been in operation for more than 120 years and is the largest company listed on the Singapore Exchange, with a market capitalization of more than S$40 billion (US$25.7 billion).

The company has a history that traces back to 1879 when the island-state became one of the first Asian cities to have telephone services, three years after the technology was patented by Alexander Graham Bell. When SingTel went public in 1993, it was--and still is--Singapore's largest Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Its monopoly ended when the local telecom market was fully liberalized in April 2000, but today, it still maintains a leading position in the Singapore market, operating just under 2 million direct exchange lines.

At the turn of this century, SingTel made plans to expand its business beyond local shores and into the region. It acquired Australia's second-largest teleco player Optus in 2001 and made significant investments in India's Bharti, Indonesia's Telkomsel and Globe Telecom in the Philippines.

As of Mar. 31 2006, SingTel and its subsidiaries--which include Internet service provider SingNet and mobile operator SingTel Mobile--have 85 million customers, and the largest mobile customer base in Asia, outside of China. The company has 37 offices in 19 countries across the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the United States.

The year 2007 will bring new tidings for SingTel when its group CEO Lee Hsien Yang leaves a post he has helmed for more than 10 years, and hands the baton over to his successor Chua Sock Koong.

SingTel ranks among ZDNet Asia's Top 10 fastest-growing companies for 2006/07.