Singtel to offer free TV channels, company directors to take fee cut

With more people spending increased time at home, Singtel said it is offering three months' free access to some of its television channels for all Singapore residents.
With more people spending increased time at home, Singtel said it is offering three months' free access to some of its television channels for all Singapore residents.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singtel's board of directors will take a 10 per cent fee cut for the upcoming financial year in "a show of solidarity", Singapore's largest telco said on Monday (March 30) as it announced a slew of measures to support businesses and consumers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The move is the latest by Temasek-linked companies whose directors - such as those of Singapore Airlines and Certis - have announced pay cuts for themselves in recent weeks.

With more people spending increased time at home, Singtel said it is offering three months' free access to some of its television channels for all Singapore residents. These include its Cast streaming app as well as its most popular entertainment and education channels such as Discovery, Asian Food Network, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

It is also helping small- and medium-sized enterprises who have implemented work-from-home plans or split team arrangements by giving them six month's free usage of productivity, collaboration and security tools.

"The businesses we depend on, the way we live our lives have been completely upended. People are having to stay home, businesses are trying to cope and survive," said Singtel group chief executive officer Chua Sock Koong.

Earlier this month, Singtel had announced a wage freeze across the company, excepting operational and support staff, as part of its cost-cutting exercise amid weak business sentiment.

Noting that Singtel is a homegrown company, she added: "We want to offer up some of our services to sustain and support the public through this time. This is our way of saying we are in this together."

Beyond its measures for consumers and businesses, Singtel also said that it has raised $2 million from its staff to help vulnerable groups and healthcare workers. The management committee donated half of their monthly salary to the fund - in addition to other voluntary contributions from other directors and staff - which the company then matched dollar for dollar.

The sum will be channelled to 18 charities and social enterprises, including Community Chest.

 
 
 

Chairman of Community Chest Philip Tan said Singtel's contribution was heartening and will "help augment what the government and social service agencies are doing for those affected by Covid-19".

"It is with many helping hands during this climate that we are able to overcome the challenges together," he added.

Under the new promotions offered by Singtel, its television customers will enjoy free access to 30 channels such as AXN, CNBC, Discovery Asia and KBS World. Singtel's network users can also use WhatsApp data-free to stay in touch with their friends and family.

Should small and medium- sized enterprises want to set up online shops as their brick-and-mortar outlets take a hit, they can also do so for free on Singtel's 99sme.sg e-marketplace.

 

Free 30-day COVID-19 insurance coverage by Income will also be extended to new and existing prepaid customers.