And Now, Gas-fired Telecoms

The Australian Gas Light Company (AGL) will offer 'bundled services', including telecommunication services, following the acquisition of dingo blue.

The new acquisition, which will continue to operate under its own brand, was bought from Cable and Wireless Optus for A$22 million. It is the first of Optus' business units to be sold since the restructure announced last month.

Len Bleasel, managing director for AGL said: "AGL will be uniquely positioned to offer bundled packages of gas, electricity and telecommunications products and services to homes and businesses right across the country."dingo blue is an Internet service provider that also offers telecommunications products and services including mobile, international, long distance and local telephone facilities. The company started 18 months ago and has 74,000 customers across Australia.

AGL said its acquisition would provide a new platform for its retail technology commerce business.

Bill McLaughlin, group manager corporate affairs for AGL, said the company -- which has been looking for a teleco company to buy for the last nine months -- is looking to provide the bundled services to customers as soon as possible, but he refused to comment on the projected timetable.

"Most homes in Australia have gas, electricity and the phone on, so it makes sense as the retail market is opening up to offer combined services."

McLaughlin also said offering telecommunication services to the corporate arena was certainly not out of the question and that the company would move into this area as soon as practicable.

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