Telstra takes on over-the-top providers

Australia's top telco sees future in the software layer.

Telsta will set up a global applications and platforms business to ward off challenges by over-the-top players, the telco said.

“Our industry is changing rapidly,” said Kate McKenzie, group managing director of Telstra products and marketing.

“The future is in the software layer and there is an application for absolutely everything.

“With successful over the top players growing exponentially, we need to continue to find ways to take challenger positions in this space.”

A recent report by Ovum said over-the-top providers represent a major threat to telcos in Australia. BuddeComm analyst Paul Budde said last week that the same threat may have spurred Telstra’s agreement last week to buy directory service TrueLocal.

“Telstra is moving from providing mobile and internet services to encompassing applications and integrated services,” McKenzie said. “This new software defined world presents many opportunities, not least the ability to move faster.”

McKenzie said the new business would operate as “a startup company drawing on the considerable assets of the broader organisation”. The business opens 1 February and will be built over the next three years, she said.

The business will be led by Charlotte Yarkoni, who previously held senior positions at EMC and VMWare, and has also worked at AT&T in the US. The team will include a mix of new and existing Telstra employees, McKenzie said.

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