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Australia’s No. 2 telco Optus plans to broaden its investment in mobile networks this year to take advantage of a new tranche of wireless spectrum to better take on Telstra, sit-in CEO Paul O’Sullivan of SingTel has said.

O’Sullivan – a former CEO at the Aussie? subsidiary and current boss of SingTel’s consumer group – has been sitting in his old chair as temporary Optus CEO while a replacement is sought for Kevin Russell, who resigned in February.

He told the Weekend Australian that Optus is planning a new fight to win over mobile customers and recapture market share after a year of customer losses.

“It’s one of our biggest and certainly the biggest spend in over a decade,” he said. “The amount of money we are putting into our networks is a sign of our confidence.

“We have a strong belief that Australians want someone who is challenging the other guy, someone who is willing to compete on service and value and not just on claims about network.”

O’Sullivan did not elaborate on what the telco’s spend on mobile for the year might be, but did say the company would be investing as much as $1.2 billion on all infrastructure investments.

Australian sources have tipped Optus to spend as much as $800 million on its mobile network alone this year, up from its more usual $600 million.
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