Monday, 30 November 2020 15:57

Optus will go ahead with plans to sell towers, says CEO Featured

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Kelly Bayer Rosmarin: “Structural changes are stripping the sector of profitability simultaneously with shortening technology cycles, all-time-high investment requirements and peak reliance on our services.” Kelly Bayer Rosmarin: “Structural changes are stripping the sector of profitability simultaneously with shortening technology cycles, all-time-high investment requirements and peak reliance on our services.” Supplied

Telco Singtel Optus will go ahead with plans to sell 70% of its "passive" towers, which are estimated to be worth $2 billion, to help pay for its rollout of 5G infrastructure.

Chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin told a business outlook briefing on Monday that these assets did not provide any means to differentiate the company's services from those of its rivals.

“Those are not assets from which we derive a competitive differentiation — we still need them, they’re still necessary — but we think that there’s a stronger monetisation opportunity from continuing to access those towers but having the management, the rentals, all that managed by another party,” she said.

The briefing provided an indication of Optus strategy in the year ahead and included brief presentations by managing director Networks Lambo Kanagaratnam, Enterprise managing director Chris Mitchell and managing director Marketing & Revenue, Matt Williams, apart from Bayer Rosmarin.

Bayer Rosmarin said that during the year, Optus had concentrated on providing services to its customers to help them cope with the issues accompanying the pandemic, rather than looking only for profits.

Earlier this month, the telco reported a loss of $27 million for the first six months of its 2020-21 financial year, describing this as a challenging period.

Bayer Rosmarin was, however, bullish about the future, pointing to analysis by management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers that had calculated the benefits of getting 5G right.

“Using PwC’s geo-spatial economic analysis, we have estimated that the deployment of competitive 5G networks could boost the Australian economy by a cumulative $130 billion over the decade to 2030 – and create 205,000 net new jobs," she said.

"Realising these benefits is dependent upon setting policies that encourage investment and a competitive environment. Without these, up to $55 billion of the predicated benefits of 5G will be put at risk.”

She said telecommunications was a fundamental part of "our lifestyle, our economy, and our nation’s success".

"This has been proven again and again during last summer’s devastating bushfires and this year’s unprecedented pandemic. Given the criticality of telecommunications it’s vital that we look ahead to consider how we can sustain and grow our sector at the time when it’s needed more than ever.”


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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