Telstra eyes Cambodia, Vietnam opportunities

Australian telco opens a new Singapore office as part of wider plans to grow its international business in the region and promote its expanded service offerings.

SINGAPORE--Australian telco Telstra has expanded its Singapore presence with a new office to promote its service offerings beyond core connectivity, as the company looks to grow its international business.

This is part of over US$20 million it has invested in the country over the past 12 months which Telstra is shaping as a cornerstone for its Asia expansion plans .

"Primarily, Singapore has been a hub for us in delivering international connectivity sevices, mainly Australian companies moving to Asia as well as U.S. and European companies," said David Thodey, CEO of Telstra, who was speaking at the office opening here Friday.

He added the new facility houses what it calls an Executive Briefing Center to help promote Telstra's various networking services and products to potential customers beyond core connectivity. "We want to continue to grow our products such as unified communications , IP telephony , and cloud computing services," Thodey said.

A key feature is a collapsible telepresence room, dubbed the V-pod, which Telstra claims is the first of its kind. According to the telco, the room can be set up and taken apart in two days, offering a cost-effective tool for IT managers worried about committing to the cost of a permanent installation.

The local expansion comes less than a month after the opening of its new data center in Singapore, which has allowed Telstra to augment its product offering from just core connectivity, to include cloud computing and other services.

lion dance
Telstra CEO David Thodey and Chairperson Catherine Livingstone "dot" the lion's eyes as part of the office opening ceremony. (credit: Ryan Huang/ZDNet)

Exploring new markets Cambodia, Vietnam

Thodey said the telco's international business currently comprises only about 7 percent of its total A$25 billion (US$26 billion) annual revenue.

"We don't talk about specific targets but I think it's fair to say that a company like Telstra that holds a large market share in Australia, we have to look for new geographies for growth and we're very keen to grow out this business as fast as we possibly can," he added.

The CEO said while the telco had considered entering Myanmar , it decided not to put in a bid for the ongoing tender for a mobile license as the company did not understand the market well enough.

telstra office
Telstra's newly opened Executive Briefing Center in Singapore. (credit: Ryan Huang/ZDNet)

He explained: "We look at whether we have the core capability and knowledge of the market before we decide whether to go in." According to Thodey, other Asian markets Telstra has been eyeing include Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea and various parts of China.

He estimated Telstra's  global headcount would grow by about 5 percent per year, based on the company's current growth of about 10 growth annually, but subject to the business opportunities it earned. It currently has about 4,000 staff in Asia, on top of the 55,000 in Australia, according to Thodey.

In Singapore, headcount had tripled over the past two years to under 100. Telstra's expansion here has ramped up since it secured a Facilities Based Operator (FBO) in 2011 , allowing it to own and operate telecommunications infrastructure such as voice and data networks, systems, and facilities in the city-state.

Across the region, Telstra last year launched nine new global points of presence in cities such as Tokyo, Sydney, and Hong Kong.