What Mr. Kaliaropoulos is looking at now is sharing infrastructure with other telcos.
Formerly of mobile operator Zain Saudi Arabia, he assumed leadership of Singapore’s second biggest telecommunications company in June, and a few months later said that they would make 300 job cuts as part of a plan to save the company S$210 million from 2019 through 2022. Mr. Kaliaropoulos had been able to bring the Saudi Arabian telco to its first quarterly profit in 10 years, thus establishing for himself a reputation for being a turnaround executive.
Mr. Kaliaropoulos expects that by 2019, StarHub will have made an agreement concerning network sharing, which would help the company see economic benefits by the end of that year.
The CEO said, “We’re talking to a lot of people. When an industry hits maturity, you need to start sharing facilities.”
M1 Ltd announced last year that they were in the process of studying collaboration in mobile infrastructure that would bring costs down.
StarHub’s bottom line has been challenged by stiff price competition and fewer mobile subscribers, and now, with the imminent entrance of a fourth telco, Australia’s TPG Telecom Ltd, competition will get even tougher. Whereas StarHub does offer films and television shows, companies such as Netflix are now challenging this as well.
Mr. Kaliaropoulos wants the company to grow “a bit more lean, a bit more agile.”
He faces another challenge in winning his investors back, as the company’s shares have gone down by 52 percent since July 2015. The company’s market value has gone down by S$3.6 billion since then.
StarHub’s new CEO believes that having four telcos in a country the size of Singapore is too much, and that the smallest telco would struggle to survive. He has emphasized the need for StarHub to solidify its position as Singapore’s number 2 network provider. “The next couple of years is to focus predominantly in Singapore, and be a very strong, clear challenger, a clear No. 2, and once we weather the storm, we do look at other opportunities.”
Singapore has more cellphones than people. Its telco market is less than .5 percent the size of China’s market, where there are only three telcos across the nation.
However, more competition would bring about better services and lower costs, which is why regulators have encouraged the entry of a fourth telco in Singapore.