M1 FINED S$1.5M BY SINGAPORE REGULATOR FOR SERVICE DISRUPTION

(The following is a reformatted statement issued by
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore on its website.) 
IDA Imposes S$1.5m Financial Penalty on M1 for 2G and 3G Mobile
Services Disruption
Date: 03 Oct 2013
Singapore, 3 October 2013 | For Immediate Release 
Outage caused by poor electrical installation practices,
inadequate risk assessment 
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has
imposed a financial penalty of $1.5m on M1 for breaching the
Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resiliency (the
“Service Resiliency Code”). This follows IDA’s investigation of
the disruption of M1’s 2G and 3G mobile telephone services from
15 to 18 January 2013, which found that M1 had not fulfilled its
obligation to provide resilient mobile telephone services. 
Some 250,000 M1 users were affected by the service disruption,
with 3G mobile telephone services affected in the south-western
parts of Singapore (West Coast, Jurong and Tuas), and 2G mobile
telephone services affected in the north-western parts of
Singapore (Woodlands, Yishun and Kranji). The total duration of
the service disruption for 3G mobile telephone services was 63
hours 15 mins, while 2G mobile telephone services were disrupted
for 71 hours 15 mins. IDA noted that M1 had carried out
progressive restoration works in phases, with priority accorded
to high traffic areas. 
Investigations showed that the service disruption was caused by
M1’s failure to ensure good electrical installation practices
when carrying out power termination in the course of upgrading
works on 15 January 2013 at one of its network operation centres,
a key telecom infrastructure node that houses essential network
equipment. This had resulted in the emission of sparks and smoke
which activated the gas suppression system, and in turn set off
one of the water sprinklers, causing the failure of one of M1’s
mobile network switches. 
IDA assessed that M1 had not carried out adequate risk
assessment on the upgrading works. M1 had not exercised due care
and diligence in ensuring sufficient safeguards to minimise the
risks posed to its equipment and operations when carrying out
its upgrading works. IDA noted that M1 did not have sufficiently
rigorous control and supervision of the upgrading process,
despite the works being carried out at a key infrastructure node
housing sensitive telecoms equipment. 
Mr Leong Keng Thai, IDA’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms and Post), said, “IDA is extremely concerned
with the length and scope of M1’s telecom service disruption,
especially when it affected services which are heavily relied
upon by both consumers and businesses. Telecommunication service
providers must continuously improve the resiliency of their
networks, in order to ensure the reliability of telecom services
in Singapore.” 
Given the serious impact of the service disruption on consumers
and businesses, IDA has decided to impose a financial penalty of
S$1.5 million on M1 for its contravention of the Service
Resiliency Code. In its decision, IDA took into account the
extent of the service disruption, and the time taken by M1 to
restore services. IDA considered mitigating factors such as the
fact that M1’s end users in the south-western and north-western
parts of Singapore were able to switch to the 2G and 3G mobile
networks respectively to use their mobile services. In addition,
IDA took into consideration M1’s commitment to invest in network
upgrades to enhance service resiliency, to prevent similar
occurrences in future. To this end, IDA will closely track and
validate M1’s implementation of the committed network upgrades
to enhance the resiliency of its network. 
Review of Mobile Networks’ Resiliency 
IDA has also completed a review of the resiliency of the mobile
networks of the three mobile operators, SingTel Mobile, M1 and
StarHub Mobile, in areas such as network design, technical
processes, business continuity planning, and infrastructure. 
IDA noted that the network resilience and redundancy design, and
facilities and infrastructure support system of the three mobile
networks in Singapore generally meet international standards,
and in some areas are amongst industry best practice. These
include areas such as the adoption of geo-redundant network
topology, and the implementation of resilient transmission
backbone. 
Notwithstanding this, there is still room for improvement.
Mobile operators could make enhancements in areas such as
network design, by minimising the number of single points of
failure, upgrading network architecture to more advanced
solutions to support full redundancy, and implementing better
business continuity planning. 
IDA will be implementing a new audit framework to review the
resiliency of the mobile networks regularly and will be working
closely with the mobile operators to enhance resiliency and
minimise possible disruptions to consumers and businesses. 
ISSUED BY CORPORATE AND MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS DIVISION
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE 
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