- POSTED: 25 Sep 2013 20:20
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Seven Singapore telecom firms, including M1 and StarHub, have voiced their opposition to Singapore Telecommunications' proposed acquisition of OpenNet.
SINGAPORE: Seven Singapore telecom firms, including M1 and StarHub, have voiced their opposition to Singapore Telecommunications' (SingTel's) proposed acquisition of OpenNet.
OpenNet is the consortium developing Singapore's next generation broadband network.
The telecom firms are asking the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to reject the consolidation request.
On August 22, NetLink Trust, a trust controlled by SingTel, proposed to acquire OpenNet for S$126 million through trustee manager CityNet. The deal requires regulatory approval from IDA.
In a joint statement to the media, the seven companies said, "If approved, the proposed consolidation would see SingTel becoming the 100 per cent beneficial owner of the only other nationwide fixed telecommunications network in Singapore, apart from SingTel's own network."
The companies said the unprecedented show of solidarity demonstrates the grave concerns the industry has over the competition issues raised by the proposed consolidation, including the potential of discriminatory treatment and a lack of independence.
In response to the concerns, CityNet acting CEO Jacqueline Ong said in a statement that the company operates in a highly regulated environment.
She also assured that there are safeguards in place to prevent SingTel from having control over NetLink Trust.
Ms Ong added that "the transaction does not compromise the level playing field and open access of the fibre network.
This is because the "terms, conditions and prices of OpenNet's services are, and will continue to be, regulated by the IDA."
Meanwhile, IDA in a statement said it will look through all the transaction details and ensure that the open access requirement for Next Gen NBN (Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network) - where the NetCo remains a neutral wholesaler of Next Gen NBN services to downstream operators - remains intact.
IDA may "impose further regulatory conditions to ensure that the proposed acquisition will still uphold the principles of No Effective Control and that non-discriminatory practices will continue, such that consumers may continue to enjoy many choices of service providers at competitive prices, if the proposed acquisition is approved."