Australia Post is set to expand on its telecommunications offering after announcing the appointment of Optus veteran director of government and corporate affairs Maha Krishnapillai to its retail unit.
After years of fighting against the incumbent in one industry, Krishnapillai will head over to the government-owned postal giant when he finishes up his role with Optus at the end of this month.
Australia Post this morning confirmed that Krishnapillai's appointment was part of the company's expansion of telecommunications offerings.
"Maha Krishnapillai is joining Australia Post's Retail Services team to grow our existing telecommunications business. The role will report to executive general manager Retail Services, Christine Corbett," Australia Post said.
Australia Post already currently sells prepaid mobile phone and mobile broadband services in its 4400 retail outlets across the country, and the company said that its strategy is to become a "trusted services provider" in financial services, identity services and communications.
Australia Post's general manager of external affairs Alex Twomey told ZDNet Australia that although the company is expanding its telecommunications business, it wouldn't be seeking to become a mobile or broadband company in the near future. Instead, it is looking at expanding reselling to post-paid mobile and broadband services as the National Broadband Network (NBN) rolls out.
"We could be signing up people to Telstra or Optus or a range of different companies onto their plans," he said, adding that Australia Post's retail footprint would make it ideal for telcos to sell their services through Australia Post.
In an interview with Communications Day, which broke the news, Krishnapillai stressed that his new role would focus on commercial activities for Australia Post, instead of the government and regulatory activities that had been associated with his role at Optus.
Krishnapillai had been contacted for comment, but had not responded at the time of writing.
The move into the telecommunications sector comes as Australia Post works to expand its online services and capitalise on its parcel-delivery service, which has grown considerably, thanks in part to online retailers such as eBay.
Despite the domestic demand for its parcel service, Australia Post has complained to the Productivity Commission that it has been losing around $20 million per year thanks to costs associated with customers importing goods to Australia. The Productivity Commission's report into the retail sector is expected to be released in December.
Updated at 4.58pm, 22 November 2011: added comment from Australia Post.