St George banks on Optus for $100m, five-year deal

St George Bank has renewed its five-year, AU$100 million contract with Optus for its communications services including voice, data and mobile.

St George Bank has renewed its five-year, AU$100 million contract with Optus for its communications services including voice, data and mobile.

The bank chose to resign with Optus rather than put out a tender for the contract due to the telco's flexibility, according to Paul Bristow, St George's chief manager of IT network services.

"They have always been prepared to look at contracts, SLAs [service level agreements] or pricing options in terms that the bank considers important, and they haven't been afraid to break new ground on this front," he said. Optus has underperformed on a helpdesk outsourcing project, he said, but added that the bank and the telco were working together on it.

Today's agreement will see the bank adoption of Optus's IP network, Evolve, within the next 18 months, according to Phil Soutter, St George general manager, IT production.

"If you have a fully IP capable network underpinning everything you do and it is sized appropriately, then you can layer business applications on that network as the need arises," Bristow said.

Part of Optus's contract will be to manage the multiple data networks that support St George's corporate/branch office, ATM, EFTPOS and mobile data needs.

St George will use Optus's 3G network for its mobile fleet, which largely consists of BlackBerrys, according to Bristow. "The Windows Mobile devices we have trailed to date haven't matched the BlackBerry performance for our users," he said, adding, however, that the bank is always evaluating new devices.