SMS Service Allows Singaporeans to Track Their Whereabouts


Singapore 26 May 2003 - The Singapore Tourism Board ("STB") and StarHub Mobile ("StarHub") today launched the SARS Contact Tracing SMS Programme in which Singaporeans can proactively track their whereabouts in Singapore via the short messaging system ("SMS").


Popular establishments such as hotels, shopping complexes, tourist attractions, wet markets, convention halls and performance venues amongst others, will be coded according to their unique six-digit postal codes. Shoppers and patrons at these establishments only have to key in the corresponding six-digit postal codes and send an SMS to 9499-SARS (9499-7277) using their mobile phones. Normal SMS charges apply.


The programme will allow for more effective and efficient contact tracing should there be a sudden outbreak of SARS cases on the island, and is part of the Step Out! Singapore Campaign which emphasises the importance of exercising vigilance against SARS while encouraging Singaporeans to have fun in a socially responsible manner.


Commenting on the SARS Contact Tracing SMS programme, Mr Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive of STB said, "We are pleased to launch this contact tracing programme with StarHub as part of our Step Out! Singapore campaign initiative. We hope that this programme will encourage and remind Singaporeans to be vigilant and socially responsible, and are confident that it will allow for a more effective and efficient way of contact tracing should the need arise. This is just the beginning of the programme and we intend to extend it in the near future to include more establishments and also transport services such as buses and taxis.


"We want to assure Singaporeans with initiatives such as the SARS Contact Tracing SMS programme, that precautionary measures have been put in place in various public places and they are encouraged to step out of their homes to go out and have fun."


Mr Chan Kin Hung, Senior Vice President of StarHub Mobile added, "StarHub is pleased to be working with the Singapore Tourism Board on this SARS SMS initiative. With this simple SMS service, we have provided an alternative means of contact tracing. It also allows them to recall their whereabouts on our website. This service is available to all local mobile customers. In fact, anyone who is on any one of the three mobile operators' network is able to SMS anytime and get their details captured."


How It Works

The information captured through the sent SMS will include the name of the establishment visited, date, time, as well as the mobile number of the sender. StarHub will keep this information on its server for a minimum of 14 days and should there be a need, contact tracing can be easily facilitated using this information.


The sender can also logon to the StarHub website to check the information captured and recorded from the contact tracing SMS.


The nearly 400 establishments participating in the programme will carry the SARS Contact Tracing SMS posters, signs, and stickers at their entrances.


This service is made available to all mobile service subscribers namely SingTel, M1 and StarHub mobile customers, and is voluntary.