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Optus' three-part strategy to becoming a multimedia provider

Shield, expand, and capture will be the three initiatives that Optus will focus on to extend beyond being just a telecommunications company.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Optus may still be known as a telecommunications company, but maybe not for long, CEO Allen Lew has suggested.

Speaking at an Australian-Israel Chamber of Commerce event in Sydney on Tuesday, Lew said the company is preparing to make inroads to transform into a multimedia solutions provider, a title that it can't give itself just yet. He said the plan will be to take an entrepreneurial approach to running the business by experimenting more, accepting failings, and moving on quicker.

Lew said the company will be "borrowing a strategy from the Israeli defence force" that has been labelled as the "shield, expand, and capture" initiative.

"Increasing market share by merely acquiring new customers simply isn't the revenue engine it once was," he said.

"For us at Singtel and Optus, with our eye on the horizon and what's happening with technology, consumer behaviour, we will focus on making sure we adopt the shield, expand, and capture imperative to capitalise on growth in the new era of multi-gigabit mobile internet."

Optus CEO Allen Lew
(Image: Aimee Chanthadavong/ZDNet)

As part of its shield imperative, Lew said the company will focus on the basics, with plans to invest close to AU$2 billion in an "integrated next-generation platform across fixed and mobile network", as well as spending on its customer care network and its staff in order to enhance customer experience for consumers, SMBs, and enterprise.

As for how the company plans to expand, Lew said it will invest in areas where the company will be able to "concentrate on taking current business opportunities from the telecommunications market and enhance it with key capabilities and with digital services".

He said the goal will be to initially leverage existing customer data to improve in-house operations, and foster a big data mindset within Optus.

At the same time, Lew said there are plans to further leverage partnerships with suitable global digital media platforms, drawing on the company's recent partnership with Netflix as one such example. Lew also did not rule out the possibilities of partnering with sport services, such as the Australian Football League.

"This is a win-win relationship that generates value for both players, since telcos provide these brands with a go-to market channel, with a billing capability, and the ability to bundle with high-quality service data to provide a superior customer experience," he said.

Finally, the capture initiative will see Optus look beyond its core business for opportunities. The company has already paved its way into digital advertising with Amobee; online security with the acquisition of Trustwave; data and analytics with DataSpark; and a premium mobile service called HOOQ, aimed at developing markets.

Lew said the idea is to change the way that customers perceive the brand, not only as a "connection to the internet", but also as a service provider that "allows [customers] to push the boundaries of what the internet can do for them".

Lew added that the company will also grow its venture capital investments. The company has already made 30 venture capital investments in the US, Israel, China, and Australia. To further extend its position in the startup space, Optus plans to set up collaborative hubs in Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Silicon Valley to help incubate potential growth areas for the business.

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