blog Industry newsletter Communications Day this morning revealed that Australia Post was planning a major push into telecommunications services, with Optus regulatory chief Maha Krishnapillai (who recently quit the company) joining to spearhead the effort.
Australia Posts’ efforts will reportedly come in three areas — tie-ins between delivery and e-commerce, financial services and banking (not sure I really understand that one) and lastly, the “obvious opportunity developing as the NBN continues to roll out”. The full article can be found online here.
CommsDay publisher Graham Lynch is pretty bullish on Australia Post’s (long-rumoured) push into telecommunications services. And he’s got a point. With retail outlets around Australia, obvious logistical capabilities and companies like Amazon demonstrating the value of integrating the virtual realm with physical delivery, many will be betting that Australia Post has the capacity to take a strong position in the new digital economy which Australia is now entering.
However, personally I think it’s a pile of crap. Is there a need to integrate package delivery with e-commerce, even to the extent which financial entrepreneur Mark Bouris is hyping in The AustralianIT today, with “electronic letterboxes”? Not really, or at least not right now.
Is there much of a link between financial services, identity verification and telecommunications? Not particularly, although they’re all obviously playing somewhere in the same ball park. People normally prefer these things to be provided by separate providers.
And lastly, can Australia Post become a significant reseller of services on the NBN, in competition with commercial telcos like Telstra, Optus, iiNet, TPG, Internode and so on? No. Not only is Australia Post way too bureaucratic and stultified an organisation to move down this path quickly, but surely a government-owned organisation should not be allowed to compete with commercial telcos in an NBN world. That would make a mockery of competition.
Australia Post’s telecommunications ambitions are not a threat, they are not a significant industry move — they are nothing but wishful thinking.
Update: We’ve received the following statement from Australia Post:
Maha Krishnapilla is joining Australia Post’s Retail Services team to grow our existing telecommunications business. The role will report to Executive General Manager Retail Services Christine Corbett.
Our Future Ready strategy identifies three key objectives, become a self-sustaining letters business, grow in parcel ecommerce and become a trusted services provider.
Our objective of becoming a trusted services provider is centred on the areas of financial services, identity services and communications. These existing businesses leverage our investment in our retail infrastructure across more than 4,400 outlets and have been identified as areas of growth for Australia Post.
Image credit: Australia Post