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SingTel Given S$400,000 Penalty by IDA

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By Donavan Lim

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has imposed Wednesday a S$400,000 penalty on SingTel Mobile Singapore (SingTel) for breaching the Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resiliency following investigation of the disruption of SingTel’s 3G mobile services on 6 and 7 September 2011.

According to IDA, SingTel had not “fulfilled its obligation to provide resilient mobile telephone services under IDA’s Service Resiliency Code.”

While 2G services were available, the service disruption caused some of SingTel’s mobile subscribers in the central region of Singapore difficulties in making and receiving calls as well as accessing SMS, MMS and mobile data services.

After investigation, it was found that the service disruption was caused by a software glitch in the new switches that were progressively being installed by SingTel in the central area to upgrade its network.

The glitch affected “the normal routing of data packets in the network, and mobile services in the central area were intermittently disrupted between 6 and 7 September resulting in a total of 22 hours of service disruption. “

The Service Resiliency Code sets out the service standards and a penalty framework for service disruptions which result in widespread service difficulties. Under section 8(1) of the telecommunications Act, a maximum financial penalty of S$1million or 10 per cent of the annual turnover of the licensee, whichever is higher could be imposed by IDA for a contravention of the Service Resiliency Code.

While mitigating factors were considered such as the non-disruption of its 2G network, on the whole, it was decided that SingTel’s efforts to identify the fault and restore the affected services were not satisfactory and that the duration of the disruption could have been potentially shortened.

Telecom service disruptions are taken seriously by IDA and telecommunication service providers are required to continually improve the resiliency of their networks.