Singaporeans already own more than one cellular phone per person, on an average. 3G usage here is also approaching 60 per cent, the third-highest penetration rate in Asia after Japan and South Korea.
Analysts said that with limited opportunity for expanding the user base, telcos in Singapore will have to look to other areas for revenue growth. One driver for future expansion may be in data services.
According to research house IDC Asia, 20 per cent of all desktops are set to be virtualised in 10 years. This means the data they use and the applications they run will all reside on Internet servers, instead of the PC or a local network.
Singapore telcos can capitalise on this shift toward so-called “cloud,” or Internet-based computing. Their data centres can play host to virtualised desktops.
Adrian Dominic Ho, principal for communications and services research at IDC Asia Pacific, said: “So telcos will be enhancing their cloud capabilities, delivering a lot of applications, delivering a lot of compute, as well as a lot of infrastructure over the cloud that is a big game changer for them.” To stay competitive, telcos will also have to collaborate more with local businesses.