That $400,000 fine

~ By Bertha Henson ~

The number $400,000 stood out in today’s papers, for being the record fine slapped ON SingTel. (I am so pleased that no paper wrote that SingTel was slapped WITH a $400,000 fine! Yay!) A big deal was made about it being a record. But numbers mean nothing without a context. It’s a record but is it high? The maximum is $1m. One possible indication is what had been slapped ON M1 for its outage last May – $300,000 – which it is appealing against. But the reader doesn’t have enough points of comparison. How long did that M1 outage last? Affecting how many people? I suppose if I wanted to, I could dig up the old stories to get a better idea. But hey, I am a reader. I have no time to do these background checks! So in comparison to M1, was SingTel heavily penalised or not?

On numbers again, the Home page on SMS use declining. Thing is, I have read this story before. It’s not new. Unless you want to grab hold of a new (I think) number and make a song and dance of it. IDA’s March figure for SMS is 2.2 billion, down from 2.3 billion in December, and 2.46 billion in September. Sets me thinking – just chart the figures. There’s definitely space on the page for it.

Maybe the article should have been more forward looking and deal with the telcos’ plans to counter the trend, especially what they are doing on the mobile data front which took up the bottom bit of the story.

On numbers again or maybe not quite – about Singapore slipping down the competitive slope. Last few pars in the ST story talks about how “open and positive attitudes” ranked near the bottom among executives here. What’s this? What are they referring to? Business culture? Unquestioning subordinates? Bad bosses? Resistance to change? I would so love to know…

TOC thanks Bertha Henson for her contribution, this article first appeared on her blog. Bertha Henson is a former Associate Editor of 'The Straits Times'.