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SingTel to package SaaS offerings

update Singapore carrier announces plans to expand its ICT business in the Asia-Pacific region, in a bid to be more than just a telecom services provider.

update SINGAPORE--SingTel has unveiled plans to boost its ICT business, and expects this segment to contribute half of its enterprise business revenues in five years.

Bill Chang, executive vice president of SingTel's business group, said at a press briefing Monday that the Singapore carrier intends to move from its position as a "pure telco", to one that offers a range of managed ICT services to the Asia-Pacific market.

Much of this plan involves providing SaaS (software-as-a-service) that is catered for the region's SMB (small and midsize business) market, said Chang.

The next two to three years, he said, will see SingTel building on its telco investments in infrastructure such as submarine cables and satellites, to move to the "next chapter" of business.

"We intend to bring SingTel from a pure-telco play to provide services over our infrastructure, to capture the ICT market," he added.

The carrier is looking to move on from being a "commodity provider" in bandwidth connectivity, and plans to repackage and deliver SaaS offerings from various software partners over its pipes.

Chang said SingTel intends to attract ISVs (independent software vendors) and hardware makers to its partner base to fuel this ambition, as well as larger software vendors "like Microsoft". SaaS products the company plans to offer will include security, unified communications and hosting services, he said.

Such SaaS offerings are expected to gain traction with the regional SMB sector, Chang said, adding that this market segment makes up a significant proportion of SingTel's enterprise business in Singapore. The telco has some 130,000 enterprise customers in the country, which includes SMBs and global MNCs (multinational corporations) based here.

Chang could not comment on how much revenues its ICT services contribute to SingTel's business group. However, he did reveal that such services make up a "significant percentage" of this group's overall revenues over the last two years, since the carrier started offering ICT services. According to SingTel's Web site, the business group clocked revenues totaling S$1.25 billion (US$881 million) in its last financial year, ended June 2008.