Mobile is slow, but cyber-security business will help company grow, says Singtel CEO

Cyber security is a key growth segment for Southeast Asia’s largest telco Singtel, as price competition in data and voice intensifies globally, its chief executive told CNBC.

“Our core carriage business that is your traditional voice, data businesses, those face significant price competition … The growth that we have seen in our ICT (information and communication technology) businesses has certainly helped us to maintain growth,” Chua Sock Koong said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday.

Singtel’s ICT business, which includes cyber-security services, helped the company offset continued price declines in carriage services in the quarter ended March.

The Singapore telco posted a 5.2 percent year-on-year increase in revenue to 4.31 billion Singapore dollars ($3.1 billion), while net profit rose 1.8 percent year-on-year to 963 million Singapore dollars ($692 million).

Chua said the company expects its cyber security offerings to bring in 550 million to 650 million Singapore dollars ($395-$467 million) of revenue this year.

“Cybersecurity is absolutely critical. We’ve seen a number of incidents over the weekend. We have been stepping up our capabilities in this space with the investment that we have made. For example, we now have 2,000 professionals in our cyber security business,” she said.

“We certainly see that as one of our key growth areas.”

Over the weekend, more than 200,000 victims across at least 150 countries were hit by ransomware WannaCry. The cyberattack crippled computers in entities that range from car factories, hospitals, shops to schools.


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