RealTime IT News

SingNet Joins Free ISP Fray, With Free Services

SingNet, the ISP arm of phone monopoly Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel), is the latest firm to offer free Net access in the region.

SingNet will take it one step further than rival Starhub by providing free e-mail services as of January.

SingNet announced that it will give its 1.82 million fixed-line customers free Internet access and e-mail accounts. The company upped the ante by promising pre-register all these customers so to avoid the inconvenience of submitting application forms.

In early December, Starhub ignited the Singapore ISP war by announcing free Internet access to all users in Singapore. Since then, SingNet said it would take a wait-and-see attitude, then responded with its own salvo.

Publicly listed Pacific Internet Ltd has so far refused to join the battle, instead placing advertisements in the local dailies insisting that the "Best Things In Life Aren't Free".

SingNet said it wants to be a key player in making Singapore a major Internet hub. The company said the latest offer is a "thank you" gift to customers in conjunction with its 120th anniversary, and would also accelerate the pace of Internet penetration in Singapore and raise awareness of the Net's benefits.

The new free services will have a different access number and local call charges from existing SingNet services and will also have a separate help desk. It will be funded largely by online advertising and e-services, the phone company said.

Existing SingNet users can opt to sign up for the new service which will be available from next month, or can stay with the existing service, SingTel said.