3 Surprising Business Facts About Singapore Telecommunications Limited

Investors in Singapore are likely to be familiar with Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX: Z74) because of two things. One, it is the largest company listed in Singapore. Two, it is Singapore’s largest telecommunications services provider.

But, there’s a lot more to Singtel than just its Singapore telecommunications business. Here are three surprising facts about Singtel.

India is its largest market

Singtel currently services 595 million customers worldwide through wholly-owned subsidiaries and other partially-owned associates. In Singapore, it has only 4.1 million customers, a mere 0.7% of its entire global customer base.

Interestingly, India is Singtel’s largest market by customer count. The company’s 33%-owned Bharti Airtel, India’s number one telecommunications company, has 243 million customers in the country. So, 40% of Singtel’s total customer base actually come from India.

Singtel’s transformation

Although Singtel had built its business by providing traditional telecommunications services such as land and mobile lines, it is currently trying to transform its business model. Singtel understands the risk that its traditional business is facing as internet and mobile data grows in prominence in the global telecommunications market.

Some of the growth areas that Singtel has been aggressively expanding into include cloud computing, cyber security, and smart-city solutions. The company is also investing heavily in the digital space with a particular focus on digital advertising, mobile video and data analytics. In fact, the company had set up its Group Digital Life business segment in 2012 to sharpen its focus on capturing opportunities in the digital space.

Friend or foe

Given the large scale of Singtel’s business (the company has an annual revenue base north of S$17 billion), it may not be surprising to learn that the company has, from time to time, formed partnerships with other companies, even when they compete directly with Singtel in certain businesses.

For example, Singtel has formed partnerships with over-the-top (OTT) video content providers like Netflix Inc in its consumer businesses. At the same time, Singtel is competing directly with Netflix for the streaming market with the launch of the HOOQ video-streaming service. Currently, HOOQ is operational in three countries, namely, Thailand, the Philippines, and India. All three are countries in which Netflix has a presence in as well.

Foolish Summary

Most investors likely know of Singtel as just the main telecommunications company in Singapore. Yet, the massive firm has multiple businesses and geographical markets. The three facts above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the whole of Singtel.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Stanley Lim owns shares in Netflix.