Optus chief executive Paul O’Sullivan yesterday said the telco was very interested in working out how it could bring the Apple iPad to Australia, describing the new tablet device as “a terrific step forward for the industry”.
The 3G-enabled version of the device is slated to ship internationally before the end of April, but no details have yet been released about how the iPad might be sold in Australia or with what telco partners. All of the major mobile telcos currently offer the iPhone, with Optus believed to have the most iPhone customers.
“We’ve a large Apple iPhone base, so we’ll be keenly investigating the iPad,” O’Sullivan told journalists on a media teleconference for Optus’ quarterly financial results.
“It’s another example of how providing people wireless access to information really increases the utility and value of the information … We’ll certainly be keen to leverage it.”
The Optus chief noted, however, that Apple’s iPad annnouncement had been “very much tailored to the US market, and he would expect that there may be some differences in the “operating and business model” when the device hits Australian shores.
O’Sullivan also commented on the recent verdict for iiNet in the ISP’s legal battle against a coalition of film and TV studios led by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), noting Optus wasn’t directly involved in the case, but had been very interested in the outcome and was keen to see some certainty around the issues of file sharing.
Optus director of Government and Corporate Affairs Maha Krisnapillai — also on the teleconference — said he suspected that the court action may not yet be over, raising the possibility of AFACT and the studios appealing the verdict.
He said Optus had a policy of discouraging inappropriate downloading behaviour where appropriate, but also “not to tell customers what they can and can’t do on our network”.
Ultimately, Krisnapillai said, like iiNet, Optus would be keen to work with content providers as getting content to customers easily and in the right format was the ultimate goal. Any solution to the problem of file sharing should involve the content providers as well as the telecommunications industry, he said. The executive noted that Optus was also happy to work with the Federal Government on a comprehensive industry solution.
Image credit: Apple