Telstra: Evolving with enterprise

14 March 2018

Telstra has a A$6 billion services and solutions business for enterprise and government customers. Jason McGee-Abe sat down at PTC with David Burns, Group managing director (GMD) of global services and international in GES, who is also responsible for leading Telstra’s global enterprise and services business outside Australia

david burns 400x400For us as Telstra full stop, not just as an international business, our enterprise business is a very significant part of our company. It’s roughly about a third of the size of the total company and we see it as a great opportunity as a growth engine and as a value proposition. We’re very committed. I know some organisations waiver from that but it’s a crucial part to us as too is our international play.

Internationally we have two customer sets. One is our more traditional long-term customer set which we call component buyers. They might be carriers, big OTTs, or buying dark fibre but they are ultimately the sophistication of the skills and people to manage those networks. Component buying, or wholesale, is a very big part of our business, but our enterprise clients outside Australia are also very significant, it’s nearly a 50/50 split. On a chart, our sweet spot for that customer set would be described as multi-national but our differentiation is if you exist in more than one country. Quite simply, if you were to go from Indonesia to Singapore or Japan to Hong Kong, our network diversity and presence gives us a real entry point to talk to our customers. You don’t have to be a big bank with a large presence to add value to us, it’s quite simply if you exist in more than one country.

Going up the stack 

It’s very aligned to our Australian strategy to enterprise. We have four major plays. The first is the network offerings in and around core backbone of our data and IP portfolio that now includes recent announcements towards what we call our Telstra Programmable Network. This is our SDN and NFV offering which we’ve launched to market and is both carrier and enterprise-grade. That’s a key offering to us. Secondly, going into security, we’ve recently relaunched our new set of security offerings and SOCs in Melbourne and Sydney. We’ve got an intent to put those in key locations around the world. We’ve made it reasonably public that our next one will be in the UK. Collaboration is key and our third is around cloud stack, infrastructure, migration and enablement. The fourth is around network management, managing those technologies. We do this with consulting, enablement, resources, data migration, and we’ve made some acquisitions – for example with UK-based technology services provider Company85 - around those areas of skills set and a dev ops company that helps in those migration areas. Today, our major concentration of these is Australia-based. There are four major hubs outside of that for us: Singapore, Hong Kong, London and the US is a big market for us too. 

Subsea strategy

If you think of the history of Telstra outside of Australia we’ve spent 70 years in the undersea cable areas of the Asia-Pacific region and we’ve now gone back to our original heritage. About 30% of the lit capacity in the APAC basin is Telstra owned, operated, controlled so we consider ourselves as one of the network leaders in the region in the subsea cable perspective. We’re very committed to keep that leadership from a diversity play with key markets. Last year, we announced a new cable between Singapore and Perth called INDIGO - so the next stage of our significant investment is connecting Asia back to the US, we’re increasing the capacity and diversity.

Boosting connectivity options

The mid trans-Pacific is a huge in-demand route. With the 6Tbps Hong Kong Americas (HKA) cable, which links Hong Kong to the US, we are one of the consortium members, and PLCN, an 8,000-mile 120Tbps linking Los Angeles to Hong Kong backed by the likes of Facebook and Google, is an agreement with one of the consortium members in this instance. It gives us both capacity and diversity. We are also looking at how we can further expand in the south trans-Pacific area and I would say that you will hear further announcements from us in that particular region throughout this year.

Our key strategy, from a network point of view, is still enhancing our interconnect between countries to build better connection between our cables and backhauls. Specific APAC countries we’ve increased our interconnect with are Taiwan and Japan. We have got no intention of building interconnection in new countries, so for example Myanmar is not on our roadmap as it is for many.

Evolving its data centre assets

We are in the data centre business in and around Asia, and we also partner with many specific data centre providers. Right now we really like the data centre demand coming out of China. 

We have a data centre in Tianjin, just outside Beijing, through our PBS joint venture (JV) that we have. As a result of the Pacnet acquisition of three years ago, one of the jewels in the crown that we received other than its network, customers and presence was the JV. 

We are the only foreign licensed telco in China. As a result, that gives us a unique value proposition that we can offer to customers. We’ve got great demand for that and we’re currently exploring options in other Chinese cities. We see China as a market of great interest and we also have a primary data centre in Singapore, which is a very good asset for us. Web services, cloud, OTT providers and how we can link in with their particular footprint and data centre strategy is something that is very crucial to us.