For most incumbent carriers worldwide, the Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) Group began as a government entity in 1879 when the island-state became one of the first Asian cities to have a telephone service. Alexander Graham Bell had patented his invention only three years before the company was established.
In 1988, the carrier introduced a subsidiary SingTel International which signaled the beginning of its expansion into overseas markets. Its first international office in New York City, United States, was set up in May 1993.
A year after it was incorporated, SingTel was listed on the Singapore Exchange in November 1993, and later on the Australian Stock Exchange in September 2001, just before the company completed its acquisition of Australia's Optus in October 2001. SingTel Optus is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary, serving more than 6 million customers in Australia.
While SingTel lost its monopoly status when the Singapore telecom market was liberalized in April 2000, the company continued to surge ahead. It exceeded S$10 billion (US$6.1 billion) in revenues for the first time in fiscal year 2003, ended March 31, and grew this figure to US$7.5 billion in fiscal 2005.
With more than 19,000 employees worldwide, SingTel operates an international network providing direction connections from Singapore to more than 100 countries. Apart from SingTel Optus, the group's other subsidiaries include Internet service provider SingNet, mobile operator SingTel Mobile, and systems integrator NCS.
SingTel operates a pan-Asian network of data centers providing a suite of managed hosting services under its EXPAN brand. Its data centers are located in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.
SingTel has never been coy about its investments in the region, holding significant stakes in various companies such as a 31 percent share in India's Bharti and 3 percent in Indonesia's Telkomsel. Its other regional investments include Thailand's Advanced Info Service, Pacific Bangladesh Telecom and Globe Telecom in the Philippines.
SingTel also teamed up with Indian satellite teleport operator Noida Software Technology Park, in June 2005 to provide e-learning services from India to various locations across Asia.