SINGAPORE: Singapore's infocomm sector grew by a record 20 percent last year, compared to the previous year, to reach S$45.4 billion.
Mobile penetration rate has gone up to 108 percent, despite an already saturated market.
This is driven by individuals such as Karen Wong, an info-communications professional, who carries three mobile devices with her – one that is small enough for her back pocket on the weekends, another that comes equipped with a keyboard and a third which is used mainly for internet browsing.
Broadband adoption has also increased from 64 percent last year to over 68 percent.
At the launch of this year's CommunicAsia, the "next generation network" is the new buzz phrase.
Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, said: "Twelve companies and consortia have been pre-qualified to build Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network.
"When it is ready in 2012, this network will be capable of speeds of at least 1 Gigabits per second and of supporting bandwidth-intensive applications that are decades into the future."
Chan Yeng Kit, CEO, Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), said: "I suppose the best way is to compare dial-up narrowband in the past with the current broadband. There was a big jump in speed. When you look at the next generation broadband, we're looking at a similar increase in capabilities."
Not content with just connecting citizens, IDA has also launched the Digital Concierge which allows tourists and visitors to access maps, shopping malls and restaurant listings online.
The Digital Concierge will be fully implemented by the middle of next year and is expected to push Singapore towards its target of S$30 billion in tourist receipts by 2015.
That is also the target date for Singapore's intelligent nation masterplan.
By then, the number of wireless hotspots would have reached 5,000 – 47 percent more than what is available now.
Some building owners, who were initially reluctant to install wireless base stations, have now been convinced.
Mr Chan said: "They've seen an increase in the customers and in the number of people who've come to the shopping malls."
Driving the record 20 percent infocomm sector growth last year was the export of hardware, which IDA said is good news for the industry as software sales tend to follow.