Singapore Shortlists FTTH Firms

Ray Le Maistre
News Analysis
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor
3/28/2008



The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has taken another important step toward deciding which companies will build and operate the island state's next-generation network by drawing up shortlists of bidders.

Singapore's plan is to hook up all its homes and businesses with fiber by 2015, with some homes getting the 1 Gbit/s access services from 2010, in a network rollout that could cost as much as US$2 billion.

To achieve its aims, the IDA has created a three-layered model: a "NetCo," to design, build, and operate the passive infrastructure; a "OpCo," to deploy network infrastructure (routers, switches) and act as a wholesaler of broadband capacity; and multiple retail service providers that will all use the same underlying physical infrastructure. (See Singapore Extends Monster NGN Tender.)

OpCo shortlist
The IDA's latest move has been to draw up a shortlist of 11 firms that have pre-qualified for the OpCo request for proposal (RFP) tender process, including Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), NTT West Corp. , Nokia Networks , and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY). See the table below for the full list.

Table 1: List of Pre-Qualified Companies for Singapore's NGN OpCo RFP

Name of Pre-Qualified Company
1 Alcatel-Lucent Singapore Pte Ltd
2 Axia NetMedia Corporation
3 BT Singapore Pte Ltd
4 City Telecom (H.K.) Limited
5 Deutsche Telekom Asia Pte Ltd
6 MobileOne Ltd
7 Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation
8 Nokia Siemens Networks Singapore Pte Ltd
9 Singapore Computer Systems Ltd
10 Singapore Telecommunications Ltd
11 StarHub Ltd
Source: Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore




The OpCo RFP process is set to start some time during the second quarter of this year, with the IDA expecting to announce the winner in the first quarter of 2009.

NetCo shortlist
A shortlist of 10 NetCo consortium leaders was announced earlier this year, and the RFP process has already begun, with submissions due in by May 5. See the table below for the NetCo shortlist, which includes many of the same names as the OpCo list.

Singapore's government is providing a grant of 750 million Singaporean dollars (US$543 million) to the winning NetCo to help with the construction.

Table 2: List of Qualified Consortium Leads for Singapore's NGN NetCo RFP
Name of Consortium Lead
1 Alcatel-Lucent Singapore Pte Ltd
2 Axia NetMedia Corporation
3 BT Singapore Pte Ltd
4 City Telecom (H.K.) Limited (Replacing Hong Kong Broadband Limited)
5 Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation
6 Nokia Siemens Networks Singapore Pte Ltd
7 Singapore Computer Systems Limited
8 Singapore Telecommunications Limited
9 SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd
10 StarHub Ltd
Source: Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore




One of the shortlisted firms, City Telecom (HK) Ltd. , just announced it has teamed up with Singapore operators MobileOne Ltd. (M1) (Singapore: MONE) and StarHub for its bid. (See APAC Operators Form Consortium.)

The winner of the NetCo bid is due to be announced in the third quarter of this year.

In his recent report on FTTH deployments and plans around the world, Heavy Reading chief analyst Graham Finnie noted that, considering its "strong commitment to technology deployment over many years" and its "dense, urbanized housing [that is] well suited to a fiber rollout," Singapore has been "surprisingly slow to encourage development of FTTH." (See FTTH Technology Fracas Continues.)

Finnie also noted that the government's proposed grant is "proportionately, the largest subsidy offered by any government for an FTTH network."

Despite Singapore's slow start, the Asia/Pacific region is already leading the way in FTTH developments, boasting a healthy majority of the world's fiber connections, though Europe is set to pick up the pace in the next five years. (See Report: EMEA Set for FTTH Surge and Asia, Europe Dominate FTTH Elite.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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