Transcom launches China-Aus carrier

Transcom International announced plans last week to launch a telecommunications carrier that will focus on long distance telephonyservices between China and Australia.

Trading under the name NewStar, the carrier is a joint venture between Transcom and Chinese telco provider, Xinhua, Peter Malone, Transcom'sgroup managing director said.

Xinhua is the commercial arm of China's official new agency, Xinhua News Agency.

According to Malone, Transcom's 25 per cent stake in NewStar was increased to 50 per cent last Friday. Over the next 9 months, Transcomhas the option of acquiring 100 per cent control of the carrier, Malone said.

According to Malone, NewStar is one of only six Australian telecommunications carriers with a comprehensive carrier license whichthe opportunity to offer long distance telephony services.

NewStar has also signed an interconnect agreement with Xinhua News Telecommunications, allowing calls to be routed to China via thisnetwork.

According to Malone, a gateway switch will be located in Sydney initially, with subsequent gateways in either Adelaide or Perth. Callsfrom international carriers will be able to be re-routed to China via the Sydney gateway.

Malone said NewStar's services are expected to come online by June 1999, beginning with calls between China and Australia. Following that, thecompany is planning to expand into other parts of Asia and move into offering Internet services. According to Malone, NewStar is expecting tooffer a 10 per cent reduction in call costs.

According to Malone, once NewStar is operational, Transcom's computer-based electronics division will be divested and its telecommunications research and development arm will become more focused as a retail telco division.

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