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Internode managing director Simon Hackett must have spent the past few months laughing quietly...
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor
commentary Internode managing director Simon Hackett must have spent the past few months laughing quietly to himself as he watched rival telcos finally bring ADSL2+ broadband to the market.
Renai LeMay, ZDNet Australia
After all, it's been more than 18 months now since Internode first launched its own version of the higher-bandwidth service. Competitors like AAPT, PowerTel, Optus and Westnet have only recently joined the party.

Their moves are testament to the leadership of Internode and other early adopters like iiNet and Adam Internet, who for most of that time have enjoyed a stark, speed-based technological advantage.

If you look a little further around the telco sector you can find other examples of such technological agility.

For example, mobile carrier Hutchison is currently watching from a position of strength as its rivals frantically try to add subscribers to their fledgling third-generation (3G) mobile networks.

Hutchison CEO Kevin Russell must certainly be feeling on top of the world. After luring more than a million customers onto Hutchison's local 3G network since its launch in April 2003, Russell will in January be rewarded with a deputy CEO role at his company's UK operation.

The only problem with the success of companies like Internode and Hutchison is that eventually the 800 pound gorilla of their sector will wake up and start lumbering their way.

That's exactly the situation both are now facing, with the nation's largest telco Telstra recently making moves on both the 3G and ADSL2+ fronts.

Telstra has recently launched a nation-wide 3G network, which eclipses Hutchison's own in terms of both speed and coverage. And there are signs an ADSL2+ launch is coming, with Telstra recently querying the competition regulator on the topic.

The key for both Internode and Hutchison in this situation will be to focus on retaining their customers, as well as directing energy into further technological innovation. Both companies need to show customers that their nimbleness and agility will prove of greater benefit than Telstra's size.

Of course, Internode and Hutchison are already making moves in this direction, for example in the areas of Internet telephony and variety of content services respectively, as well as network speed in both cases.

How do you think technological innovators like Hutchison and Internode will fare as Telstra gears up? Drop me a line directly at renai.lemay@zdnet.com.au.

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