Singtel-Optus chief executive Allen Lew has detailed how the company will turn up the heat on Telstra, while telling investors that, much like the supermarket and airline industries, Australia’s telecommunications market could end up as a duopoly.

Sources said Mr Lew told a room of shareholders and analysts at Singtel’s Investor Day conference in Singapore on Wednesday that Optus would improve its mobile network, partner with more content providers and improve the public’s perception of its brand.

And while he didn’t indicate the company had any plans to turn Australia into a telco duopoly – a move that would face heavy opposition from competition regulators – Mr Lew did reveal his personal preference for the future of the local industry.

“There are two supermarkets and two airlines in the market so why not a two-player telco market?” he reportedly said, referring to the dominance of Woolworths and Coles in the retail space as well as Qantas and Virgin Australia in the local airlines business.

Telstra was Australia’s monopoly phone and internet provider until Optus became a viable second-placed challenger by slashing prices and offering attractive new products in the 1990s. Around 83 per cent of mobile customers and 60 per cent of fixed-line internet subscribers are currently using Telstra or Optus services…


Photo: Singtel-Optus CEO Allen Lew says Optus pans to improve its mobile network, partner with more content providers and improve the public’s perception of its brand. James Alcock


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