In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Singtel CEO Chua Sock Koong revealed her fear that a new competitor in Singapore market will lower prices and “sustainability”:
“The only way (a new operator) can gain customers will be by way of reducing prices … Clearly just leading prices down, it’s not good for the sustainability of the industry.”
However the CEO yesterday (Feb 12) attempted to cover up her fear by speaking to the government-controlled state media claiming that “that is absolutely not the case” without an explanation:
“To those who took my comments to mean we don’t want competition because we don’t want to lower prices, that is absolutely not the case. They have every assurance that we will continue to offer the best services at the most competitive prices.”
Earlier in Nov 2015, she has reiterated that there is no need for a fourth telecom competitor in Singapore, claiming that a fourth carrier will give Singapore more carriers than countries with bigger populations like Japan and China.
The Singapore government is auctioning out radio frequencies to a fourth operator this year to cater for the growing population, which currently stands at 5.6 million with a target of 6.9 million.
Singtel was formerly a nationalized asset until its privatization in 1993. The company was paid S$1.5 billion by the Singapore government in 1997, which greatly bolstered its balance sheet. Its major shareholder is Temasek Holdings, whose CEO is the wife of the Prime Minister.