RealTime IT News

StarHub, SCV May Merge

SINGAPORE -- StarHub, Singapore's second full-fledged info-communications company, and local cable operator and broadband Internet access provider SCV are in talks to explore the possibility of a merger.

If the merger goes ahead, StarHub's fixed-line, wireless, long distance and Internet service business units will be combined with SCV's cable TV and residential broadband Internet access businesses.

Said SCV president and chief executive officer Yong Lum Sung, "This merger has the potential to establish a world-class communications powerhouse that offers a compelling integrated range of telecommunications and broadband interactive services in a cost-efficient manner for the benefit and convenience of customers in homes and offices alike."

SCV currently has more than 265,000 customers on its SCV MaxTV cable TV service, while its new broadband access service, SCV MaxOnline, is now said to be the leading broadband access service in Singapore, with more than 50,000 subscribers connected just 15 months after its launch.

The company has also been awarded a facilities-based operator (FBO) license last year, and has been designated a public telecommunications licensee (PTL) by Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). Company officials said SCV's awards illustrated "a clear endorsement of the strategic importance of [the] broadband network and paves the way for voice telephony services to be offered in the near future."

"The synergies are obvious," said Terry Clontz, StarHub's president and chief executive officer. "SCV has a state-of-the-art nationwide broadband network that reaches all homes in Singapore. StarHub has invested significantly in cabling the commercial areas for broadband services and has built a GSM mobile network.

"In addition, StarHub's Mobile division has recently been awarded a Third Generation (3G) license in Singapore. Both SCV and StarHub have a significant customer base in their respective areas of business, and the footprints of StarHub's and SCV's fixed networks complement each other very well."

As at December 2000, StarHub has obtained 8 percent market share for its international call services (IDD 008 and I-Call 018); 265,000 Internet dial-up subscribers, and more than 700 business accounts secured through its Internet arm, StarHub Internet.

Officials from both companies stressed that until a formal merger agreement is reached, the final shareholding structure cannot be confirmed. The merger will also be subject to approval from regulatory authorities.