Swiftel rides SingTel for offshore push

Still minus a network, Western Australian corporate telco Swiftel has signed up its first customer and launched its assault on the Asian market.

The carrier, which will begin building its Perth-based fibre-optic network in two weeks, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Singapore Telecom last week.

Under the agreement, which is expected to be finalised in the next month, Swiftel and SingTel's customers will have access to each organisation's services, said Chris Gale, Swiftel's CEO.

The deal is SingTel's first foray into the Western Australian market. The carrier has been operating in Australia through a Sydney office for around two years.

Using Swiftel's fibre-optic network, SingTel's customers will have access to high-speed bandwidth and internet access in the Perth CBD and surrounding business areas. Swiftel will have the opportunity to offer its customers high-capacity bandwidth and global internet access and submarine and satellite links via SingTel's network, Gale said.

SingTel will focus on the Perth corporate market, providing international internet bandwidth, managed data services -- including frame relay, managed data services, ATM and private IP -- international private lease circuits and wholesale voice.

In addition to beefing up Swiftel's service offerings, SingTel will also become Swiftel's first customer and generator of earnings revenue.

It is also expected that additional customers will be signed up as a result of the agreement, Gale said.

With the exception of a number of SingTel customers including ISPs, to date Swiftel is yet to sign other customers, but is "talking to quite a few at the moment".

According to Gale, Swiftel expects its network to be commissioned by September 30 this year. Once completed, the network will span Perth's CBD, including connections between 30 major businesses.

Future rollouts are planned for East and West Perth, and local business areas of Perth, Gale said. "In the long term we might look at the east seaboard," he added.

The move offshore was always on Swiftel's road map, but perhaps happened sooner than expected.

"We were definitely thinking about it . . . but we didn't expect it to happen so quickly. We know ISPs here in Perth who want connections offshore."

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