Each TraceTogether wearable device cost S$20 to make, S$6 million contract for 300,000 devices awarded on May 15

Total cost of making 5.7 million devices could potentially be S$110 million.

Belmont Lay | June 12, 2020, 01:43 PM

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Singapore-based electronics maker PCI has won a bid to supply 300,000 wearable devices to trace people who have come into contact with Covid-19 carriers, Reuters reported.

The S$6 million tender works out to S$20 a unit for the bluetooth-enabled TraceTogether Tokens.

The tender was awarded by Singapore's Government Technology Agency (GovTech) to the firm on May 14, according to a government notice, Reuters said.

Tender before public announcement

The public first heard about the development of the device on May 22, after Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan talked about it during an interview with Sky News Australia, saying that the mobile app version did not work as well.

"GovTech has contracted PCI to manufacture an initial batch of TraceTogether Tokens," the GovTech said in response to Reuters queries.

GovTech also said it will tender for the design, manufacturing and delivery of further batches.

So far, no official prototype has been unveiled to the public, who are not sure how the device looks like other than knowing it will be some sort of dongle on a lanyard.

Total cost

The total cost of the TraceTogether project could potentially be S$110 million if tokens are rolled out to all 5.7 million residents in Singapore.

The pilot project comes after an earlier smartphone-based contact tracing app had limited downloads as it did not work efficiently on Apple iOS devices.

Tokens will be distributed by mid-June 2020.

Vivian, who is also the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, on June 8 assuaged the fears of the public worried that the devices can intrude privacy of users.

He reiterated repeatedly during a press conference that fears of privacy intrusion are overwrought.

PCI Private Ltd started as a Silicon Valley circuit board manufacturer in 1972, Reuters said.

It was bought by American private equity firm Platinum Equity for S$265 million in 2019.

Top photo via GovTech