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Network or beyond? The future for Optus

SingTel has launched 4G in Australia, but beyond this infrastructure play it faces the same question as every other telco: what next?
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor on

Podcast

In this week's Twisted Wire podcast, Andrew Smith, Optus' vice president of mobile core engineering, talks through its Australian 4G rollout. Melbourne was launched earlier this week, adding to its existing coverage in Sydney and Perth. Other capital cities will follow, and the potential for further expansion really depends on its success in the digital dividend auctions next April.

Of course, 4G long-term evolution (LTE) has always been a given for Optus. The issue it will face, according to industry analyst Paul Budde, is how it will cope with increasing consumer demand. He fears that players like SingTel will become so preoccupied with finding an engineering fix for network-congestion issues that they won't have the headspace to come up with the innovation answers for what to do next.

Austin Bryan is sure to disagree with him. He is the global head of digital communities and ecosystems at SingTel. He explains how his role is to find digital opportunities that will create demand and, in some way, develop stronger bonds with SingTel customers. We talk about how its Innov8 program, offering seed funding for digital start-ups, is a step in this direction.

Tell us what you think. Is Optus positioning itself well for the digital future? Let us know your thoughts on the Twisted Wire feedback line at 02 9304 5198.

Running time: 32 minutes, 09 seconds

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