In December 2007, the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) implemented The Premium Rate Services Code (PRS Code). The PRS Code, and the Spam Control Act are guidelines that content service providers must comply with. Additionally there are some carrier requirements, as listed in the Promotion Requirements of forum entry.
The Spam Control Act, that guards against unsolicited messages has a S$25 penalty for each electronic message, up to a total of S$1 million for breaches.
The PRS Code covers regulations such as ensuring prices, plus terms and conditions are provided to consumers in advance of opt-in, ensuring an SMS-MO opt-in is obtained before billing, ensuring confirmation and reminder messages are sent, and ensuring that complaints are handled appropriately.
The IDA impose substantial penalties for regulatory breaches. A recent fine saw a company billed S$73,000 (approx USD $56,000 / GBP £36,000 / EUR €40,500) for multiple breaches with 4,000 users affected. Another saw an aggregator, who was providing SMS services to their clients blocked for operating in Singapore for 6 months because of their clients actions. Penalties can be as high as S$1 million and/or permanent licence suspension.
Total market coverage:
* Mobile One is more commonly displayed to users as M1.
The mobile market in Singapore is characterised by its energy and innovation. Even when growth appeared to have slowed somewhat, there was still considerable effort going into value-added products and services. The market initially approached the launch of 3G with a degree of caution. As the licences were issued and the networks rolled out, some of the major operators and, to some extent, the government were circumspect about the prospect of next generation of mobiles. Singapore ended July 2009 with 6.58 million mobile users and a penetration rate of 136%, compared with 6.22 million mobile users and a penetration rate of 129% in July 2008. Singapore has the lowest telecom prices in the world as a proportion of income according to the ITU’s ICT development index.
- Area: 710.3 sq. km. - Cities: Capital - Singapore (country is a city-state).
- Population (2009): 4.99 million (including permanent residents, foreign workers).
- Annual growth rate (2009): 3.1% (total); 2.5% (Singapore citizens and permanent residents).
- Ethnic groups (2009): Chinese 74.2%, Malays 13.4%, Indians 9.2%, others 3.2%.
- Religions: Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu.
- Languages: English, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, Malay, Tamil.
- Education: Years compulsory -six. Literacy (2009) - 96.3%.
- Health (2008): Infant mortality rate 2.1/1,000. Life expectancy - 78.4 yrs. male, 83.2 yrs. female.
- Work force (2009, 2.99 million) Manufacturing - 18.1% services -68.3% construction - 12.9%.
- The dollar (sign: $; code: SGD) is the currency of Singapore. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively S$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies, however SGD must be used when conveying the price to users. It is divided into 100 cents.
If you would like more information on the communications market in Singapore, see this report by the International Telecommunication Union.
As part of the application process for you will need to complete a txtNation Customer Care Form (CCF). The CCF is used to submit to the carriers for them to provision the shortcode, and used ongoing to ensure that your service tests the same as the approval.
Dedicated shortcode provisioning takes 4 weeks upon application approval by mobile operators.
After approval all new promotional messages or changes to your approved promotions must also be submitted to the carriers for approval prior to broadcasting to mobile subscribers, it can take up to 2 weeks to get this approval.
You may notice with the PRS Code there is a duty not to bill for premium rate services provided by non-licensed parties, and no billing network operator shall bill any person for any premium rate service provided by a party that is not licensed by IDA to provide such premium rate service. Operating with txtNation, you can operate under our IDA license, or we can apply for your own, so we can remove this hassle for you.
As extracted from the PRS Code:
In addition carrier guidelines state:
- Hotline service and availability must be indicated and abide at all times. Hotline service minimum operation hours must be from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Singapore time weekdays (Monday to Friday) except on gazette public holidays.
- Content provider must not superimpose nor prominently display one price unless all content advertised is being sold at the same price.
- Promotion transmitted via television: The price information must be made available and clearly displayed on the same screen as the shortcode.
- Promotion transmitted via radio: The price information must be announced immediately before or immediately after the announcement of the shortcode information.
- Price information must be denoted using official local currency abbreviation which is represented by SGD or S$ (SGD - Singapore Dollar). The price must be displayed including the GST (tax) e.g. “SGD1.07 w/GST” or “S$1.07 w/GST” (e.g. price point SGD1.00) for ALL telcos.
- Content provider can only charge a mobile subscriber when he or she has requested and received a service.
- Content providers are not allowed to charge a mobile subscriber for information messages such as turning a subscription on and off, listing of users in a chat room, reminder message for subscription renewal will be sent on the last day of the month, request for help to use a service or an invalid request by a mobile subscriber, etc.
- Content provider must ensure that service charges, frequency of the service, opt-out instructions, hotline and website (if applicable) are mentioned clearly in all promotional materials.
- Premium rate subscriptions require a single opt-in (SMS-O or WO-RAR) with the exception to Singtel which requires a double opt-in. A standard rate message as the subscription starts plus ongoing reminder messages are required.
- PIN opt-in (WO-PIN) is not available.
Message Flow Requirements
See the full PRS Code for information on how you should build your message flow in Singapore. In summary there is an obligation to send the customer a confirmation message following the customer’s request for service, acknowledging the customer’s request, detailing the charges payable for the service, and setting out step-by-step unsubscribe instructions. Also with subscription services you must send the customer weekly reminder messages for the first month, then once a month thereafter.
Highlights of the PRS Code include:
2.6.3 required content for reminder messages.
2.6 lists the duty to provide confirmation and reminder messages no later than 24 hours before the end of each subscription period.
2.7 Duty to enable end users to unsubscribe from subscription-based services. After de-subscription you must send a confirmation of de-subscription.
2.9 Duty to indicate charges in all chargeable messages
2.9.3 With the exception of Content download services, you must list the price of the message in every billed message. E.g. start the message with S$15.
2.8.1 You can not charge for:
(a) advertisements;(b) information on how to purchase or subscribe for a premium rate service;(c) information on how to unsubscribe from a premium rate service;(d) information on prices and charges;(e) confirmation of requests to purchase or subscribe for a premium rateservice;(f) reminders for renewal of subscriptions;(g) confirmation of instructions to unsubscribe from a premium rate service;(h) requests to purchase or subscribe for a premium rate service; and(i) instructions to unsubscribe from a premium rate service.
FreeMsg: This is a subscription service from [name]. Text [keyword] to [shortcode] now to enter, cost: SGD[cost in $X.XX format] /[time period, e.g. day, wk, mth]. Support: [Toll free or local rate customer support number]. To STOP send STOP to [shortcode]
- Free standard rate welcome message, upon joining, before a billed message can be sent a standard rate message should be sent advising the user they have joined in the following format:
Free MSG: You are now subscribed to [name], cost: SGD[cost in X.XX format] /[time period, e.g. day, wk, mth]. support: [Toll free or local rate customer support number], To STOP send STOP to [shortcode].
- Stop Messages - Any message containing STOP, treat as a stop request and return a message in the format of:
FreeMSG: You are now unsubscribed from [name]. No further charges apply. Helpline port: [Toll free or local rate customer support number]
- Sample reminder message
Successful registration for ABC. Fee:SGD5.00/end date 7-11-11.Price:SGD1 per sms. You receive 5 sms per week until cancel. Start date1-11-11.Renewal Date 8-11-11.To cancel,send STOP ABC to 79900. Hotline 63387005
Note the Customer support number in the messages is optional, but recommended.
We operate both Mobile Originated (MO) and Mobile Terminated (MT) billing on dedicated lines in Singapore. See forum entry "What are the SMS billing types available?" for more information on these billing types.
For Singtel's retry policy, if the content provider is unable to charge users after 3 retries, the content provider must not try again. The subscription must be cancelled and if the user wishes they can opt back into the service again.
See PRS Code 2.10 Duty relating to chat services.
For competition, sweeps, contest services, carrier guidelines state that content providers are required to adhere to the guidelines set by the Singapore Criminal Investigation Department, Gambling Suppression Branch for any Lucky Draws and Contest mobile services. Please log-on to the following link for more information and submit the service approval form. txtNation may at its own discretion to offer assistance in facilitating the submission and approval process for lucky draws and contest services on behalf of our clients that do not have a registered office in Singapore to the relevant authority. Service approval is subject to the approval by the authority.
You are not able to run any services that contains offensive, unsuitable and unlawful content, in particular:
(a) regard to the contemporary attitudes, offensive
(b) unsuitable for minors
(c) incites crime
(d) describes unlawful sexual activity
(e) promotes violence
(f) causes alarm
(g) breaches a law
(h) breaches a code of practice
From 1st April 2015, Singtel will not support the sale of Premium SMS services to the Singtel prepaid base via the prepaid wallet. Hence, all prepaid subscribers will be charged to their Singtel mCash wallet. Kindly ensure the landing pages accurately convey along the lines below in Terms & Conditions:
- “For Singtel Prepaid users until 31 March 2015, charges will be deducted via users Prepaid account. Effective 1st April 2015, charges for Singtel prepaid customers will be deducted via Singtel mCash.”
Shortcode and Keyword Structure
As per PRS Code 2.4.2 A purchase keyword command must –
(a) not comprise of any commonly used phrases which may increase the risk of a person accidentally subscribing to the service such as “hi”, “hello”, “yes”, “no” or “ok”;
(b) not be misleading in any way; and
(c) not contain any words which convey the impression that the command is intended for unsubscription from services such as “stop”, “quit”, “cease” or “cancel”.
As of 21st May 2012 IDA (The Singapore Regulator) has introduced compliance requirements that premium short codes must be appended with prefix 1460 by 1st July 2012.
Existing : Short code for premium services are 7xxxx
Changes : Add prefix 1460 for every premium services short code, i.e: 14607xxxx.
Existing short code for premium services
Added prefix for premium services short code
73300 changed to 146073300
73800 changed to 146073800
76888 changed to 146076888
78288 changed to 146078288
78388 changed to 146078388
The current rate of tax in Singapore is available via Wikipedia.
The outpayments on our rate cards are exclusive of VAT, so if you are VAT registered you can claim a higher outpayment than is shown.
Dedicated codes are available in 24 weeks upon application approval by mobile operators. You can read more about Short Code Coverage, SMS Billing Services and Mobile Payments in the Singapore via the txtNation Gateway.
Singapore has the following Mobile Payment options available, all of which fall under these regulations.
- Premium SMS (P-SMS) including Short Code services
Additional options for Mobile Payments and Messaging in Singapore include:
- HLR Lookup
- Bulk SMS