Montefiore's Back!

Neil Montefiore, who stepped down as CEO of Singapore mobile operator MobileOne Ltd. (M1) (Singapore: MONE) at the beginning of February this year, is taking the helm at mobile and cable operator StarHub , one of M1's fiercest rivals. (See M1 CEO Steps Down.)

StarHub announced today that current CEO Terry Clontz is retiring in January 2010, 11 years after joining as founding president and CEO, and will be replaced by Montefiore. Clontz, aged 58, will remain on the StarHub board.

For Montefiore, it will be a return to the Singaporean telecom services market after an 11-month absence. Only a few weeks after he stepped down from M1, he spoke with Light Reading TV at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, giving his views on the global mobile market in general, stressing the need for greater focus on customers, and stating that he'd "announce something in early 2010" after a gap year, a hint that he already had the StarHub job lined up. (See Mobile Operators: Get Ready to Share.)

Montefiore will inherit a business that generated revenues of 2.13 billion Singapore dollars (US$1.46 billion) and net income of S$311 million (US$213 million) in 2008. The company is expecting the same level of revenues in this year.

At the end of the first quarter of 2009, StarHub had more than 1.8 million mobile customers, of which half were 3G users, 527,000 pay TV customers (98 percent digital cable), and 383,000 cable broadband customers.

StarHub is something of an innovator in the mobile market: It launched commercial 3G femtocell services in late 2008, unveiled its HSPA+ mobile broadband network in March this year, and announced an Android applications development campaign in June. (See StarHub Launches 3G Femto Service, StarHub, Huawei Launch HSPA+ Net, and StarHub Tackles Android Apps.)

It is also playing a vital role in Singapore's iN2015 initiative to provide every home and business with fiber access broadband within the next few years. (See Singapore Makes FTTH Strides , AsiaWatch: StarHub Lands NGN Role, and Singapore Unveils Digital Hub Vision.)

That's a role Montefiore was hoping for at M1, as he revealed during an LRTV interview conducted at the CommunicAsia show in June 2008. (See Neil Montefiore, CEO, MobileOne.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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