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Gain Insight in to Australia Telecommunications Market.

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of "Australia Telecommunications Market Intelligence Report" to their offering.

Each extensive Market Intelligence Report includes the following sections: Economic, Social, Political, and Telecoms Indicators; key data presented in tabular form. Regulation; a summary/overview of the market and regulatory climate, followed by synopses of the regulators' powers and other competition or ministerial bodies to which it reports or with which it co-operates. A summary of the regulations in force, a list of differences in the types of available licences and a list of the licences issued. Market Indicators; the available data is presented in tabular form with commentary and graphics. Major Operators; contact data and company information, including ownership, background where relevant for pan-European carriers, licensed activities, scope of activities/services, recent major equipment contracts, summary of network status, references to major subsidiaries, joint ventures, and alliances. Major Manufacturers; contact data and company information including ownership, background where relevant, manufacturing & distribution activities, recent major equipment contracts, references to major subsidiaries, joint ventures, and alliances. Industry Associations; contact data and organisation information covering background where relevant, activities/objectives and references to members.

Australia operated a duopoly in the provision of telecommunications services until July 1997, although a host of value-added service providers were able to offer services over the infrastructure of the duopoly operators Telstra and Optus Communications (now known as SingTel Optus). The market was opened to full competition from July 1997, with a total of 128 carrier licences awarded by the end of 2003, along with 50 nominated carrier declarations. Of the total number of carrier licences issued 26 had been surrendered/revoked, with 11 of these surrendered/revoked in 2002 and seven in 2003. A total of 19 new licences were issued in 2003. Of the total number of nominated carrier declarations issued, a total of nine had been surrendered, with three of these being surrendered/revoked in 2002 and six in 2003. By the end of 2004, there had been 153 carrier licences awarded, with a further 61 nominated carrier declarations. Of the total number of carrier licences issued 35 had been surrendered/revoked, with 11 of these surrendered/revoked in 2002, seven in 2003, and seven in 2004. A total of 23 new licences were issued in 2004. Of the total number of nominated carrier declarations issued, a total of 10 had been surrendered, with three of these being surrendered/revoked in 2002, six in 2003, and one in 2004.

Telstra has vigorously defended its local market from competition, through tactics including overly-high interconnection costs and delays in implementing automated systems to assist customers in connecting to the networks of other operators. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instigated an enquiry into local services in October 1998, which resulted in the declaration of local telecommunications services in July 1999. This obliges carriers to provide indiscriminate access to their networks and opened local telecommunications services to fair competition. Nevertheless Telstra has been accused of being indifferent to its legal requirement to provide interconnection facilities with new carriers and of having misled or deceived potential customers of new carriers. The relationship between the ACCC and Telstra can become strained at times.

Optus remains Telstra's most potent threat, now under the ownership of Singapore Telecom (SingTel) after that company agreed to acquire Cable & Wireless (C&W)s 52.8% holding in March 2001 in a deal valued at A$16,800 million. In October 2001, SingTel completed the compulsory acquisition of the shares in Optus that it did not own, increasing its stake to 100%. The company has since been renamed SingTel Optus. Other significant players include the TCNZ-backed AAP Telecommunications and Primus Telecom Australia, although the market saw some casualties during late-2001 and through 2002. ComVergent/RSL was the subject of a management buy-out at the end of 2001, FlowCom briefly suspended trading in its shares during 2002 while its debt was re-structured, One.Tel went into liquidation in 2001, and NewTel entered liquidation in early-2003.

In the mobile market, Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone continue to fight out the larger market shares, although Hutchison has now been able to start to take significant market share following the launch of its 3G service in Sydney and Melbourne in April 2003, with a widening of the service in June 2003.

Telstra's service quality, which is widely regarded as particularly poor in rural and remote areas, has delayed the sale of the government's remaining 50.1% stake in the operator. The privatisation of Telstra has taken place in two tranches, both of which have been subject to delays. In October 1997, 33% of the operator was sold. Two years later, a further 16.6% was sold. The government indicated at the time of the second sale that it would sell its remaining holding, but only on assurance that Telstras rural and regional services had not deteriorated as a result of the privatisation to date. A report published in September 2000 revealed persistent problems and the sale was postponed.

In March 2004, the Australian government re-introduced the Telstra sale legislation into the House of Representatives, four months after it was scuttled in the Senate upper house, where the government lacks a majority. The coalition needed four extra Senate votes on top of its 35 to pass legislation. The government said it remained committed to the full privatisation of Telstra and that it is "fully committed to maintaining and improving telecommunications services for all Australians, including those in remote, rural, and regional areas, into the future". The government noted that it would only proceed with the sale when market conditions are conducive to taxpayers achieving an appropriate return from the sale. The Bill does not change the current limits on foreign ownership of shares in Telstra, nor will it enable Telstra to base its operations outside Australia.

However, developments slowed during 2004 in the run-up to Octobers general elections. In October 2004, the Australian government said it was unlikely to sell its stake in Telstra before 2006, according to Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, whose Liberal/National Coalition Party was re-elected earlier in the month. He said that even this date could be optimistic and that he would be laying down a series of conditions that must be met before the sale could even be considered, including the improvement of telephony services in rural areas.

Companies Mentioned:


-Optus Communications

-SingTel Optus

-Singapore Telecom (SingTel)

-TCNZ-backed AAP Telecommunications




-Primus Telecom Australia

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 23, 2007
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