Hubbing In Review
Amidst heightened competition, network quality remains a key differentiator. Growth would not be possible without a strong backbone, so we must not lose focus of providing reliable services on our networks. With a robust network, we are able to offer better value packages for our data-hungry mobile users.
From Hubbing to Hub+
We have used Hubbing effectively as an overall strategy for years, and we have delivered value-for-money and convenient bundles of Mobile, Pay TV and Broadband to hundreds of thousands of Hubbing consumers. Hubbing was and still is the key to the hearts and minds of our customers and it has helped built StarHub into a household brand.
Now, as wider industry and technological trends emerge, consumers have new preferences and consumption behaviours. Amid this new landscape, we wish to expand and elevate our offerings beyond mere Hubbing packs; we wish to offer a Hub+ proposition. We can do more than just being an essential and reliable communications services provider; we want to be our customers’ key lifestyle partner too.
For example, via our acquisition of a strategic stake in entertainment company mm2 Asia in 2016, we can now offer hard-to-get premium tickets to top global music acts to our customers as part of the Hubbing perks. We can also offer exclusive meet-and-greet sessions to the stars and sneak previews to blockbuster movies to our lucky customers. We do not just provide telco services; we also provide ‘money cannot buy’ experiences.
Hub+ allows us to be more than a communications services provider; we want to be our customers’ key lifestyle partner too.
We inked a deal with OCBC Bank to invest and build networks of partnerships using data insights from our customer bases. With these insights, we can build more seamless customer journeys and give customers better services, experiences and offers. This relationship marked the formation of Singapore’s first bank-telco strategic partnership to drive Singapore’s collaborative economy or the ‘We Economy’.
Businesses globally are moving beyond conventional industry silos to an interconnected ecosystem to shape better business outcomes and customer experiences. The previously clear lines between different businesses and industries will eventually converge to meet customer needs in a unified manner and we are driving this along.
In 2017, we saw a new MVNO coming into the marketplace and we expect more to emerge in 2018. We are also expecting a fourth mobile operator to commence operations. Amidst heightened competition, network quality remains a key differentiator. So, we must not lose focus of providing reliable services on our networks. Growth would not be possible without a strong backbone.
With a robust network, we are in a good place to offer better value packages for our data-hungry mobile users like DataJump and DataShare. DataJump lets postpaid customers supersize their local data bundle while DataShare allows them to share a portion of their local data bundle across multiple mobile lines under the same billing account.
DataShare users can easily adjust the proportion using the My StarHub app. It can even be used by customers who have upsized their data bundles using our popular DataJump service.
Utilising the spectrum secured at the last auction, we have since rolled out our gigabit 4G network for customers to enjoy a faster, smoother mobile experience. In August, we put our upgraded TDD-LTE equipment to work at Marina Bay. As the venue of the year’s National Day Parade, we saw spikes in mobile traffic volume when thousands upon thousands thronged the area.
We are happy to note that the upgraded network could handle the surge in traffic with an improved efficiency of 30%. This means as we implement enhanced coverage throughout the rest of Singapore, our customers will be assured of a consistent and high-quality signal reception.
In the same month, we also started offering even better value with our unlimited weekend plans. StarHub Mobile customers can enjoy their weekends with their smartphones practically tethered to their hands, to stream, to surf, to post to their hearts’ content and not worry about exceeding their data bundles.
In September, we introduced two new prepaid SIMs, called the StarHub WeChat Go SIM. This is in response to the growing number of visitors from China to Singapore. This SIM card gives them unlimited social messaging on the popular WeChat app.
Delivering convenience at affordable rates, in November, we launched DataTravel Global, an enhancement to the initial DataTravel Asia-Pacific plan launched in 2016. This is a hassle-free solution for customers who hop between destinations frequently and over extended periods – a flat rate for data roaming in multiple destinations within 30 days.
The plan offers StarHub Mobile postpaid customers 2GB or 3GB bundles for use on all mobile networks across 50 destinations in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. As a unique advantage, DataTravel connects customers’ phones to the strongest available mobile network signals. This means that customers can enjoy peace-of-mind, eliminating the likelihood of bill shock, as they need not manually search for or lock their phones to a specific preferred mobile network.
Also in November, the three local telcos jointly announced the implementation of Mobile Connect for the benefit of Singapore businesses and consumers. Mobile Connect is a digital identity solution that offers greater online security, privacy and improved user experience. This signals the industry’s commitment to roll out a simple yet secure digital identity solution for Singapore.
The same month also saw us enhancing the existing SIM Only plans. By opting for the 12-month contract options, customers can get double the data at the same price. They also enjoy unlimited data access every weekend.
We have started laying the foundation for 5G. Together with our technology partners, we will be conducting more tests in 2018 to ensure that our network is ready for future demands.
A summary of the progress and events in 2017.
Enhanced network coverage for our customers to enjoy a faster, smoother mobile experience.
Offers a single subscription for a wide variety of entertaining content.
Sole authorised retailer for Google’s home mesh networking devices.
In the pay TV space, we have seen the rapid proliferation of OTT players in the market. To address this, we are constantly improving our online streaming service StarHub Go to give our customers more flexible viewing options.
StarHub Go offers customers a single subscription for a wide variety of content from English entertainment to Korean dramas to documentaries and variety shows. In addition, StarHub Mobile postpaid customers can enjoy content on StarHub Go without using their bundled mobile data.
We are also working with our content partners to seek legal avenues to protect their intellectual property rights from non-sanctioned websites streaming their content. Lastly, we continue to leverage on the data from our two-way set-top boxes to be smarter in managing our content costs. We know how valuable and well-appreciated each channel’s content is by our TV viewers and we will pay appropriately.
In July, we started offering premium channels that need not come with Basic Groups. Called StarHub TV d’Lite, these premium channels (including movies and sports content) are available in eight packs to non-StarHub TV customers.
As a strategic investor in mm2 Asia, we have joined the company to be a co-producer of the hit singing competition ‘The Voice’. To reflect the wide appeal of this popular singing competition, ‘The Voice’ aired on Hub E City in Singapore as well as Astro’s AEC Channel in Malaysia, making it a truly regional collaboration. As a result, the competition was the highest rated programme across all our Asian channels in 2017.
We have introduced a TV audience measurement system, called StarHub SmarTAM, which can track both real-time and time-shift viewing of TV content across our TV channels. To make better use of our data on hand, we have partnered Nielsen, a leading global performance measurement company.
Under this partnership, we fused StarHub SmarTAM with Nielsen’s data to provide advertisers and media agencies a wider range of variables to analyse their target audiences. They can slice and dice the data and analyse what is the most effective marketing campaign, and turn this into a science rather than an art.
TVB's Golden Anniversary
In 2017, we celebrated the silver anniversary of our partnership with Hong Kong’s TVB. For 50 years, TVB has produced many memorable shows and many of our customers grew up watching the dramas. Generations of Hong Kong actors and actresses have become household names here too.
In October, we organised the annual StarHub TVB Awards – the eighth time this star-studded event has been held here. Ever-popular veterans such as Wayne Lai and Nancy Sit were conferred the 25th Anniversary Most Popular TVB Drama Male and Female Character awards for their timeless portrayals of iconic TV characters.
Deserving up-and-comers got their turn on stage too. The winners for My Favourite TVB Actor and Actress awards are Vincent Wong and Ali Lee respectively. Both won in this highly-coveted category for the first time.
To translate our long-standing ties with partners into something tangible for our customers, we have roped the partners in to help celebrate StarHub TV’s 25th anniversary. We organised lucky draws where prizes are in the form of holidays providing the experience of a lifetime. Such experiences for our customers are only made possible with the enthusiasm of these partners.
The winners get to go behind the scenes with studio tours, attend live show recordings and even a chance to meet the top celebrities up close.
Examples of the top prizes are: round trip tickets to WrestleMania in New Orleans; Game of Thrones tour in Northern Ireland; tickets to The Voice S14 Finale LIVE in Los Angeles; passes to the Saturday Night Live Experience in Chicago; entry passes to the Isle of MTV Malta in Europe; tickets to visit the home of X Factor in London; studio tour in Korea organised by ONE and last but not least, a TVB City exclusive tour.
We appreciate the value of such exclusive partnerships. To mark such fruitful relationships, we have introduced the ‘Only on StarHub’ campaign, which highlights our unique offerings on StarHub TV with a slew of on-air promotions.
We can do more than just showcasing our international offerings. We are actively promoting and creating our unique, and local content as well. During the year, we continued to tap on the Public Service Broadcast Contestable Funds Scheme offered by the regulator, IMDA.
The scheme allows us to commission and produce a variety of local programmes ranging from animations to sports to travelogues. The programmes are also shown via the StarHub Go app, where our customers can enjoy these local creations for free, and at their own leisure.
For example, there was a travel show, ‘Let’s go Gai Gai’, where popular and bubbly host Michelle Chia helped fulfil the travel wishes of some under privileged families, bringing them to different parts around the world.
There was also the sports programme, ‘Be Schooled’ where former student athletes put their sporting skills and talent to the test as they compete against the current school team. The programme was nominated for ‘Best Sports Programme’ at the New York TV Festival held in April.
To help make our National Day celebration more meaningful, we started showing three other programmes in the month of August.
‘Love In Transit’ (下一站●爱), which has a total of ten episodes, is a beautiful sketch of special moments in the lives of the characters, as they go about using the different transport modes of Singapore. Some of the stories are comical, others will make us frown, but the attitudes and behaviours shown are real.
For the thousands of commuters out there, their daily journey might be a drudgery, but somewhere within that transient moment, there is always this special spark, that can somehow lighten up their lives in ways unexpected.
‘Timescapes’ is a collection of five animated short films. Each film centres on life, love and home, and different characters’ stories are unique in their own ways, but the common ground which we can all relate to: the stories are set against Singapore’s past and present.
One of the five short films, the award-winning, ‘The Violin’, weaves a beautiful tale of a violin’s 80 years in different hands from the banks of Boat Quay to the Victoria Concert Hall. The backdrops differ but the narrative remains firmly rooted to Singaporeans’ passion for music and their country.
To round up this year’s local programming, there was a short film called ‘Paper House’. This film is an adaptation of the novel ‘Paper City’ by novelist Dave Chua and comic artist Koh Hong Teng.
The film’s protagonist is an Indian teenager, who was shooting a documentary of the funeral of the grandfather of his best friend, a Chinese. The movie brings out the complex relations as a family interacts as they grief. The movie is also a showcase of traditions and practices the family tries to adhere to.
In the same vein, many Singaporeans feel compelled to carry certain traditional practices; we are proud to carry the Singapore flag high and give our passionate content creators a platform to tell their stories that are uniquely Singapore – and to pass on such traditions to a wider community.
We can do more than just showcasing our international offerings. We are actively promoting and creating our unique, and local content as well.
On the Broadband front, we endeavour to remain a competitive broadband provider. For a few years now, we have been competing with the newer, smaller players. To differentiate our broadband offerings from the crowd, we are always striving to offer something extra. For example, in March, we introduced the enhanced version of our network-based content filtering system (which works for smartphones too) called JuniorProtect Plus.
In July, we announced a tie-up with leading networking equipment vendor Linksys to offer our broadband customers access to the next generation Max-Stream EA7500v2 wireless router. This device allows not just connection for multiple devices, but supports concurrent video streaming at 4K and HD quality as well.
In August, we started offering the Google Wifi home mesh networking devices for our customers, as sole authorised retailer. Each basic pack of these three hockey-puck like devices weave a seamless home Wifi network, cleverly managing signal coverage and balancing usage required across the home.