SingTel Mobile is paying the price for a software malfunction in its 3G mobile network, after the city-state’s industry watchdog, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), hit it with a heavy SGD400,000 (USD312,000) fine related to disruptions in the service last year. The fine, reportedly the heftiest meted out to a telco to date, reflected what the IDA considered a serious problem, affecting more than 5% of SingTel Mobile’s base stations and in turn thousands of customers in the central region of Singapore. Industry watchers say that the level of the penalty comes as the regulator toughens its stance on operators over service levels. The IDA was reportedly unhappy with SingTel’s ‘unsatisfactory’ efforts to rectify the problem quickly. In November 2011 the IDA fined SingTel rival M1 SGD300,000 following customer complaints about congested networks and slow downloads; M1 later appealed the fine.
In a related development, the city-state’s other main service provider StarHub experienced its own technical glitch yesterday, when its fibre broadband network went offline in some parts of Singapore. The telco confirmed that at 7.50pm local time it became aware that some customers in parts of Bedok, Bukit Panjang, Jurong and Orchard were unable to use their fibre-optic broadband service due to technical fault. However, StarHub had resolved the problem and fully restored services by 9.35pm.