StarHub courts high end business users to boost base

19 Feb 2003

Singaporean mobile operator StarHub has unveiled an aggressive marketing strategy to boost its share of the country’s cellular market by enticing corporate customers away from larger rivals Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) [Singapore: TELE.SI] and MobileOne. StarHub, which launched commercial services in April 2000, had about 640,000 mobile subscribers in December 2002 compared with SingTel Mobile’s 1.56 million and MobileOne’s 1.05 million users. With more than 80% of the population already owning a phone StarHub has said it hopes to boost its market share to 25% from 20% currently by taking customers from its rivals. It has ramped up its marketing in recent months, improved its network to bring it on a par with SingTel, and struck a deal to sell wireless solutions developer Research In Motion Ltd’s Blackberry email pager – a first for Singapore. In addition the cellco has doubled its corporate sales staff since mid-2002 and signed deals with operators in 60 countries to allow customers to access other networks whilst abroad. Analysts have reacted cautiously to its proposals however, noting that many large businesses are signed up to multi-year contracts with their mobile services provider which are tough to break. Moreover, although StarHub is offering perks such as free incoming calls and per-second billing, SingTel is ready to react to any threat.