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S'pore pumps US$12.1M in mobile development

With growing importance of mobile devices, Singapore government will avail funds to develop mobile offerings for retail, F&B and hospitality sectors to boost business competitiveness, reveals minister.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

COMMUNICASIA, SINGAPORE--The Singapore government has earmarked mobile technologies as a competitive differentiator, and will dedicate funds to develop mobile offerings for specific verticals in a bid to boost business competitiveness.

Announcing this at the official opening of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) 2011 on Tuesday, Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore's minister for information, communications and the arts, said the government recognizes the mobile space as a key area of development in its growing infocomm industry. He added that the government is eager to work with the industry to "harness opportunities presented by the mobile space and to develop mobile solutions for businesses".

To achieve this, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) together with NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute, SPRING Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board, will set aside a S$15 million (US$12.1 million) to develop mobile offerings for the retail, food and beverage, hotel and attractions sectors, the minister revealed. The agencies will jointly issue a call for collaboration to invite project proposals from the industry.

Yaacob said: "Through this initiative, we hope to be able to accelerate the use of mobile technologies, such as mobile commerce or wireless point-of-sales, to enhance business competitiveness and to spur innovation in the development of mobile solutions."

The government, he added, will be looking at the allocation of wireless spectrum so operators can deploy 4G technologies in the next few years.

Local telco M1 announced Monday that it will launch the country's first Long Term Evolution network today.

In his speech, the minister also gave an update of the country's infocomm industry. Revenue from the local ICT industry grew 12.2 percent year-on-year to reach S$70.4 billion (US$56.8 billion) in 2010, he reported.

Quoting the World Economic Forum's Global IT Report released earlier this year, he said Singapore was ranked second in ICT use among 138 economies. Singapore has also been ranked first in Waseda University's world e-government ranking for the last three years, he added.

According to Yaacob, the country is also on track to achieve its iN2015 masterplan. As of March, Singapore's mobile penetration rate stood at 145.5 percent, while Wi-Fi hotspots in the city state has exceeded 7,500, he noted.

Singapore TVs to go digital
Yaacob added that the country's plans to switch fully to digital TV transmission is in progress. This is in line with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (Asean) plan to turn off analog TV transmission between 2015 and 2020, he noted.

While Asean has adopted DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial), Singapore will be adopting the second generation of the standard, DVB-T2, said Yaacob.

The country's media regulator, the Media Development Authority (MDA), is preparing a nationwide trial to determine how the new standard can be adopted in the country, he said, adding that the trial network is slated to be installed by September.

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