Australian telco market ripe for new consumer entrants: AAPT

Trials Hyperbaric billing engine as a white-label solution

The Australian market is ripe for an influx of non-traditional providers of consumer telco services, according to AAPT.

Chief operating officer, David Yuile, said the local market was likely to see a UK-style evolution in which formerly non-traditional players, such as grocery retailer Tesco, entered the market with their own consumer telephony services.

“There are a large number of white-label opportunities in the market,” he said. “[Consumer] is also a likely entry point for new players — non-traditional telcos — who have high retail profile and would like to sell telco services, but for whom it has been impossible until now to launch into the market on their own.”

Yuile’s comments follow the launch of a new initiative at AAPT. The company is trialing its in-house consumer telco billing engine, Hyperbaric, as a white-label offering to smaller telcos and non-traditional players.

“We have one telco which has been trialing for about a week now, and it has been smooth sailing,” he said. “I’m sure as they go through their billing cycles there may be some minor challenges, but we’ll work through them. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by it. The biggest thing has been how quickly they’ve got it up and running.”

Hyperbaric, which is based on the Infonova platform and is delivered via the cloud, had the potential to dramatically cut the cost of entry for new players wishing to enter the local market, Yuile said.

“We think new entrants will come into the market as they’re no longer staring down the barrel of millions of dollars of software development to get into the telco market,” he said. “It’s a relatively small setup fee.”

AAPT was yet to seriously scope out the size of the market opportunity with its billing engine, Yuile said, but was willing to take gamble on its potential.

“If you look at how the market dynamics have shifted in the UK, who would have thought that Tesco would become a large player in telephony? Not many people, yet they are” he said. “I think it will be part of the market’s natural evolution and the opportunity could be large.”

Positive take up of consumer unlimited broadband

AAPT recently launched an 24/7 unlimited consumer broadband offering and Yuile said that the initial take-up of the service was promising.

“We are pleased. It’s still early, but one thing we have noticed is that very few people seem to understand the music package we’re offering with the unlimited service,” he said. “Unlimited is all very good, but it’s really about what you consume on unlimited that is important, as if you have a lot of bandwidth, but you’re not consuming it, then it’s not a value proposition.”

The company also remained confident that the move toward 24/7 unlimited consumer broadband was the right one.

“We have seen some guys attempt to respond [to 24/7 unlimited broadband] like TPG and Exetel but I laugh when that happens as it’s usually a sign that you have rattled somebody’s cage. It makes us think that we must be doing something right.”

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