Telstra misused confidential Optus info

The Federal Court ruled yesterday that Telstra misused Optus' confidential information for its own marketing purposes in the 1990's.

The Federal Court ruled yesterday that Telstra misused Optus' confidential information for its own marketing purposes in the 1990's.

It is more historical evidence of why Telstra should be separated as canvassed in the government's regulatory reform discussion paper of 7 April 2009

Optus executive Maha Krishnapillai

Optus had claimed that Telstra's wholesale division had between 1993 and 2000 passed along Optus' confidential long distance traffic information to Telstra's retail division. With this information, Telstra used it to prepare market share reports and carried out marketing and advertising attacks in the long distance call market. Such attacks were used to "lure" Optus customers back to Telstra.

The traffic information included the number of calls made, the source of call, the destination, duration, time, kind of call and value. The sharing of this information breached the telco's access agreement with Optus, meaning that Telstra could track the success of Optus' marketing campaigns.

Telstra denied in the hearings that it used Optus' traffic information to prepare the market share reports and had only used the record of aggregate traffic information, which it said was its information and didn't breach the access agreement.

But Justice Edmonds found that Telstra acted in breach of its agreement with Optus and was liable to Optus for its breaches. Optus said it would now look to ascertain the extent of Telstra's breaches and would be seeking damages.

"This is another example of anti-competitive behaviour from Telstra. And it is more historical evidence of why Telstra should be separated as canvassed in the government's regulatory reform discussion paper of 7 April 2009," Maha Krishnapillai, director of Optus Government and Corporate Affairs said in a statement.

Telstra did not respond to requests for comment.