Singtel's push into digital, ICT fields pays off

The Singtel Cyber Security Institute which trains technical professionals and management personnel to handle cyber breaches. The telco has 10 "advanced security operation centres" across the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, and about 2,000 cybe
The Singtel Cyber Security Institute which trains technical professionals and management personnel to handle cyber breaches. The telco has 10 "advanced security operation centres" across the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, and about 2,000 cyber-security professionals under its global cyber-security unit.PHOTO: SINGTEL

Telco to continue focus on cyber security and digital marketing, amid strong core business

Singtel's push into the digital realm continues to see "considerable progress", the telco said in its annual report yesterday.

It noted that the digital and information and communications technology (ICT) businesses now contribute around 24 per cent of group revenue, with cyber-security turnover amounting to more than $530 million.

Chief executive Chua Sock Koong said in the report that the group continues to build its new digital businesses of cyber-security and digital marketing, while also noting that its core consumer businesses across Singapore and Australia have done well.

About three million - or 20 per cent of customers in Singapore and Australia - routinely use its apps to buy roaming packages, subscribe to value-added services and pay bills, Singtel said, with nearly 20 per cent of all sales transactions in Singapore now done online.

The report also noted that Ms Chua earned $6.11 million in the 2018 financial year with $5.94 million paid out, comprising her fixed salary, variable bonuses, benefits and Central Provident Fund contributions. The total remuneration was a slight decline from the $6.56 million earned in 2017, for which $5.89 million was paid out.

The telco now has 10 "advanced security operation centres" across the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, and about 2,000 cyber-security professionals working under its global cyber-security unit.

It has integrated its cyber-security assets into a single unit to better secure against cyberthreats.

  • MAKING PROGRESS

  • 24%

    Percentage of group revenue that digital and information and communications technology businesses now contribute.

  • $530 million

    Cyber-security turnover.

It has also partnered with SoftBank, Telefonica and Etisalat to create the Global Telco Security Alliance, which offers companies access to a range of cyber-security services, Ms Chua said.

She said "high-quality mobile and broadband, compelling content and competitive pricing" will continue to remain at the heart of Singtel's value proposition.

In India, associate company Bharti Airtel has been feeling the heat from "an aggressive new operator" which had caused market disruption and price erosion. This is a possible reference to Reliance Industries' Jio, whose bold pricing moves have forced the hand of its rivals.

Despite the tough competition, Ms Chua said "fair regulatory policies and sector consolidation" in India should lead to a "more stable market structure in the mid term".

The group's investment in marketing technology company Amobee is also paying off, crossing $1.1 billion in revenue as Ebitda - earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation - turned positive for the first time, added Ms Chua.

Chairman Simon Israel said Singtel's push in digitalising the core of its operations by incorporating data analytics, machine-learning and artificial intelligence has helped position the group for the Internet of Things era.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2018, with the headline 'Singtel's push into digital, ICT fields pays off'. Print Edition | Subscribe