Telecom New Zealand says it will conduct a formal evaluation of its Australian business, AAPT, to decide the telco’s future options. In October this year Telecom confirmed it had been approached by several parties regarding a possible sale, or a joint strategic alliance. Since then interest in AAPT has intensified, and Telecom has responded to several unsolicited approaches – including one from rival telco SingTel Optus – by instigating a full-blown review to consider its next move. Telecom expects the review process will commence in January and will take up to a month to complete.
AAPT is Australia’s third largest telco, but is nevertheless a relatively minor player in the fixed line market. It launched long-distance and international services in 1991, and has since expanded into other areas, including the corporate sector, with the installation of telephone exchanges and data platforms in major cities. Today it operates its own network of submarine and terrestrial cables, as well as metropolitan fibre-optic rings, which incorporate its local multipoint distribution service (LMDS) network and digital point-to-point microwave technology. It launched a DSL service – Speednet – for business customers in 2001 and later that year introduced a residential DSL offering under the banner Smartpack. In November 2004 the telco launched voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services to the SME market, having contracted Fujitsu to provide the technology. AAPT markets itself as a straightforward, focused telco, calling its approach ‘Straight Up’.