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Telecommunications industry commentators are hailing the revelation that Australia Post is planning to enter the telecoms industry in a major way, with former high-ranking and highly respected Optus executive Maha Krishnapillai, at the helm.

News of the move was broken by Communications Day, which said the move sees Oz Post – already dabbling in e-commerce via its delivery service for goods ordered online – seeking to diversify further away from traditional postal services and into newer communications offerings.

According to Comms Day, which spoke with Krishnapillai, Oz Post’s telecom strategy will focus on three main areas: first, its strength in e-commerce, based on the fact that many online transactions require parcels to be delivered; followed by a ramp-up of its financial services and banking portfolio – noting that through existing offerings like passport and licence services, Oz Post has already built up substantial expertise in ID verification and payment security.

Finally, it says, “Australia Post is mulling a push into broader communications services, with an obvious opportunity developing as the NBN continues to roll out. The company’s massive distribution, trusted brand, logistics advantages and easy-to-use payment systems all present a compelling case for the company to play in the wider telecoms space in an NBN environment.”

Industry observers mainly agreed. “I think it’s a goer,” commentator Paul Budde told CDN; the seer of Bucketty sees the NBN ushering a comms role for many larger retail outfits like Woolworths and David Jones as well as Oz Post.

He pointed to Oz Post’s well-established and equipped 4500-plus retail outlets round Australia,; its existing deals with outfits like eBay, utilities and financial organisations; and the high regard in which it is held by most users – unlike existing telcos which have sparked an avalanche of complaints to the telecommunications industry ombudsman.

Telsyte analyst Foad Fadaghi believes Oz Post will be able to build on a pervasive organisation which touches most Australians daily, and which is already a significant player in the marketing of prepaid mobile phones as well as technology-based services.

 

He believes Oz Post will eventually launch a virtual mobile operation via the NBN. “It’s too early to say whether they will have a major impact on the market, but I see them developing as a challenge to Optus and Vodafone rather than Telstra,” said Fadaghi.

According to Comms Day’s Grahame Lynch, Australia Post brings assets to the market that most telcos lack and that only Telstra can really match. His advice to existing telcos and wannabes: “Be very afraid”.

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