SingTel wants to charge content providers. Here’s why we shouldn’t accept that

So I came across this article. The gist of it is that SingTel’s chief executive, Chua Sock Koong has once again pushed for legalisation to allow Telcos to charge major Internet content providers – like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube – for consumers to have faster access to their content, or consumers will face throttled speeds

She mentioned specifically

“If network owners do not upgrade their network, OTT (over-the-top) content players cannot deliver a good experience to their customers”.
i.e We need more money to build a better network, hence we want to charge these people.

So the premise is that they don’t have enough money to upgrade their network. 

So, to make this clear:

If Content providers don’t pay extra, consumers face throttled speeds. However much you pay SingTel won’t count for nuts if the Content Provider doesn’t pay SingTel for “faster access”.

What about blogs that have become HUGE? Will SingTel throttle speeds to them as well because they are “Content Providers”?  What about small companies who want to use Social Media Platforms to market their products? The cost is going to passed to them too, rendering the whole idea of going digital more unappealing.

To be fair, networks are expensive things to upgrade and maintain. But to say they have no money to upgrade their networks is like saying there are no cows in a cow farm.

Here is SingTel’s income statement, found on their website:

Everything is in Millions, by the way

Everything is in Millions, by the way

That’s right, boys and girls. Net Profit after tax is about, oh, $3.6 billion, with a very stable underlying net profit for both FY2013 and 2014.

Additionally, the Business Times reported in November 2014 that they had posted a $1.02 Billion net profit, and that’s just for Q2 of their Financial Year.

Yeah. You read that right. It's just ONE Quarter.

Yeah. You read that right. It’s just ONE Quarter.

It seems like SingTel’s shareholders, however, would be popping some champagne. As evidenced by this article: “The company had proposed a final dividend payout of S$0.10 per share, bringing the full year dividend to S$0.168. The pay-out translates into a pay-out ratio of 74% and is in line with management’s policy of giving out between 60% and 75% of each year’s profit as dividends”.

Now, let’s look at this statement again:

“If network owners do not upgrade their network, OTT (over-the-top) content players cannot deliver a good experience to their customers”.

I don’t think this is about being unable to upgrade networks. I’m actually beginning to think they just don’t want to until they get their pay day from Content Providers.
In fact, I’m beginning to think SingTel is trying taking us for a ride and that just ain’t right.

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