Optus and Singtel merging network functions

Optus and its parent company Singapore Telecommunications will merge their network functions.

The move follows the merger of the two companies' respective international carrier services, international network and international satellite businesses in December 2001.

The telcos have been "looking at the synergies for quite some time" and the move affords them the opportunity to create a major Asia-Pacific region powerhouse in telecommunications, an Optus spokesperson said.

Current Optus managing director for networks, Bill Hope, will head the new combined network organisation.

Hope will "maximise economies of scale and centrally manage the network infrastructure and capital expenditure of the SingTel Group", Optus said in a statement. "He will be responsible for driving the technology selection, engineering and operation of the group's fixed and wireless networks in Singapore and Australia, leading a team of more than 4000 employees."

Hope will report to SingTel and Optus' chief operating officers Lim Toon and Paul O'Sullivan on issues concerning the two networks, officials for the two companies said.

Hope led the program which successfully launched the first Hughes HS601 satellite on the first Chinese Long March 2E Rocket.

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