Along with a majority of revenue-generating industries, Singapore has distinguished itself as a hub for the growing telecommunications market in Asia. The pro-business political climate and attractiveness to a vast variety of international talent has aided in the boom – creating one of the most conducive environments for all types of telecom players. Whether you are dealing in equipment, distribution or fixed and wireless services, there is a place for you on the island.
The InfoComm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) oversees all licenses, permits and regulatory requirements of the telecom industry. The IMDA draws a line between service-based and facilities-based operations, applying different licensing approaches to each. These licenses include the following:
Facilities Based Operator (FBO) License
An FBO operator is one that supplies telecom infrastructure, systems and maintenance services. To acquire a license, the operator must apply with the IMDA. A complete application contains:
- Company vision and commitment
- Company strategies, structure and financial capability
- Proof of technical dependability and accuracy of plans and strategies
- Proof of capability to fulfill said plans and strategies
One of the key details that will be assessed by the IMDA is the overall contribution your company can make to the telecom industry. For example, if the infrastructure you provide benefits the industry or increase the quality of services in the country.
There will be an administrative fee of SGD 1000 and the license application will take about eight weeks to be fully processed. Subsequently, an annual license fee of 1% of the operator’s annual gross turnover will be required to maintain the license validity.
Service Based Operator (SBO) License
For operators who lease any type of telecom network element (e.g. switching services) from an FBO operator to support their own telecom services, or reselling of FBO operator services to a third party. If an operator plans to offer some sort of telecom services to another party – it is usually standard to apply for an SBO license.
Depending on the scope and nature of SBO’s services, they will need to apply for an individual or class SBO license. Class licensed SBOs cannot gain monetary deposits or use prepaid cards to receive payments from their customers. However with an individual license, they may do both as long as there is a paid-up capital of SGD 100,000 or more.
The IMDA website contains a list of the full services which fall under individual and class SBO licenses. Class licenses need not be renewed after the 2-8 day processing and approval. Individual license renewal vary depending on the scope.
Other Applicable Licenses
- Dealer’s license
Anyone who manufactures, imports, rents out or sells any equipment for telecommunication needs to have a dealer’s license. The application will require a one-time payment of $50
Depending on the types of services and infrastructure an operator is planning to set up, the following licenses may also apply:
- Satellite Communication Station License
For the transmission and receipt of any satellite communications.
- Mobile Network License
For the provision of any type of mobile service including cellular and data services
- Satellite Uplink/Downlink License for Broadcasting Purposes
For broadcasting purposes. Does not license the provision of telecom services.
- Satellite Downlink License
This does not license or cover satellite uplink broadcasts.