SingTel dishes out over $2 million for data protection

SingTel will be spending more than S$2 million to ensure it keeps its marketing in line with the new personal data protection law which will be fully enforced come 2 July.

Meanwhile, the telco anticipates an additional expenditure of up to an annual S$500, 000 to train its staff and for the cost of compliance.

Read also: PDPC cracks down on erring companies
How the DNC will affect marketing

A spokesperson  told Marketing SingTel will also be launching a new portal by the end of July which will allow customers to pick the channels through which they wish to receive marketing messages and the type of products they want to know more about.

For example, a customer can now choose if they want to receive information about handset offers or event invitations. Taking a step further, SingTel will also offer customers the option to specify which offers they do not wish to be informed about and what type of marketing messages they wish to be excluded from.

The spokesperson also added that SingTel will also allow customers to opt out from having their anonymous data provided to third-party organisations.

“Depending on how the market reacts, we may even provide a higher level of granularity such as allowing customers to specify the time of the day they wish to be contacted,” Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO of SingTel’s consumer unit told The Straits Times yesterday.

Yuen also added that every month SingTel calls 150,000 to 200,000 customers with promotional offers.

Meanwhile competitors M1 and StarHub have also been upping the ante as well.

A spokesperson from M1 told Marketing that in late 2013, M1 started obtaining its customers’ consent and preferences on how they wish to be contacted during service sign-up or re-contract. At the same time, customers could also state their preferences on the telco’s website on how they wanted to receive marketing materials, with options such as calls, SMS, email or mailers.

“Our messages are targeted to meet our customers’ needs, and we have also appointed senior executives as Data Protection Officers to oversee compliance with the Act,” he said.

A StarHub spokesperson also added that the protection of customers' data privacy is an important issue for the telco as it has spent significant resources to put in place a compliance programme for the PDPA.

A separate webpage for customers was also created to opt in or opt out from receiving marketing messages from StarHub and its partners. The telco also regularly assess the adequacy of data security controls to ensure compliance with the PDPC requirements, she said.