Regulator-led initiative sees operators provide connectivity and cybersecurity, while banks offer funding for transformation programmes.

Singapore’s telco watchdog on Wednesday launched a collaborative effort between telcos and banks that aims to drive digital transformation among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has signed seven memoranda of intent (MOIs) with operators and financial institutions.

"We believe our SMEs need to embrace technology to thrive in a digital economy. Through collaborations between IMDA and key industry partners, SMEs can more easily access digital technologies and financing support to embark on their digitalisation efforts," said Tan Kiat How, CEO of the IMDA, in a statement.

Under the programme, M1, Singtel and StarHub will provide a one-stop digital technology bundle that combines broadband access with IMDA-approved cybersecurity and data analytics tools and services.

The group of banks – DBS Bank, Hong Leong Finance, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), and United Overseas Bank (UOB) – will provide financial support, such as bridging loans, to help SMEs defray the cost of adopting new digital technology.

The initiative forms part of the IMDA’s SMEs Go Digital Programme. Launched in April, its objective is to take a structured approach to driving digital adoption by SMEs. The group of banks and telcos are the programme’s first seven industry partners.

"We welcome more partners to join us in supporting our SMEs in their digital journey," How said.