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Singapore Telecom Fined Following 3G Network Outages

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Singapore Telecom (Singtel) has been fined by the Singapore telecoms regulator, the IDA following a disruption to its 3G networks last September. The IDA found that Singtel had failed to comply with license regulations calling for "resilient mobile telephone services".

The service disruption caused some of Singtel's mobile subscribers in the central region of Singapore to experience intermittent difficulties in making and receiving calls and accessing SMS, MMS and mobile data services. At all times, 2G services were available.

Investigations showed that the service disruption was caused by a software glitch in the new switches that were progressively being installed by Singtel. The glitch affected the normal routing of data packets in the network, and mobile services in the central area were intermittently disrupted over three periods between 6 and 7 September causing a total of 22 hours of service disruption. More than 5 percent of the mobile network's base stations were affected.

Given the serious impact of the service disruption, IDA has decided to impose a financial penalty of S$400,000 on Singtel for its contravention of the Service Resiliency Code.

IDA deemed that STM's efforts to identify the fault and restore the affected services expeditiously were not satisfactory and that STM could have potentially shortened the duration of the service disruption. In its decision, IDA also considered mitigating factors such as the fact that STM's 2G network was not affected during the service disruption and that end users who switched to STM's 2G network were still able to use their mobile services.

The Service Resiliency Code, which was first introduced in 1998 and revised in 2008, sets out the service standards and a penalty framework for service disruptions which result in widespread service difficulties.

The maximum financial penalty that IDA may impose for a contravention of the Service Resiliency Code is up to $1 million or 10% of the annual turnover of a licensee, whichever is higher.

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Tags: singtel  ida  Singapore