Q&A: Peter Hobbs, head of global wholesale, Telstra

09 March 2015 |

Capacity Middle East Day 1: Peter Hobbs, head of global wholesale, Telstra, talks about growth opportunities across the Middle East.

What makes the Middle East an attractive market to operate in?

The Middle East is attractive because of its growth potential. It is an increasingly digitised region and this comes with significant new opportunities for innovation and business growth. Our existing customers also see this and it is for this reason we have actively expanded into the Middle East. It is also true that the region’s position – between Europe and Asia – makes it perfectly situated as a hub of activity and as a centre of gravity for global businesses. Finally, the UAE is an important, business-friendly bridgehead into the rest of the Gulf, into North and East Africa and into the rest of South-West Asia. 

What are some of the challenges of operating in the Middle Eastern market? 

Currently, the region’s markets have generally not been sufficiently deregulated or exposed to competition. Experience – without exception – tells us that the key to unleashing massive growth and innovation in our sector is to unshackle it and the continued regulation of certain innovations, such as VoIP, could stifle growth.


What are your strategic priorities in the Middle East for 2015 and what announcements can we expect from Telstra in this region this year? 

Telstra will continue with its global priority of building customer advocacy. Working alongside our technology partners and customers we continue our expansion into the major growing markets. One of the initiatives supporting this thrust in the Middle East is leveraging some of the new submarine cable systems currently planned and being deployed.

For example, we are looking forward to announcing some new Points of Presence (PoPs) in the region which will greatly increase capacity between Asia and Europe. It is hugely important that we can extend the flexibility and reliability of our network – and indeed its size – so we retain the ability to serve our customers successfully, delivering high-quality services at competitive prices.


What major trends do you see occurring in the Middle Eastern market this year?

The continuing emergence of the region, especially the UAE, as an important business hub will be key. This is going to be paramount in the technology and media sector, and regional economies should look to focus on this sector as they seek to build a long-term, non-resource based economy.

As for telecom companies in the Middle East, diversification is likely to be critical to the future success of the industry. Increasing segmentation and specialisation in the market is the key trend and one that will introduce the possibility of differentiation. 


What subject areas do you hope to discuss in your panel session?

My panel will focus on the Future of Voice. There has been a lot of discussion recently about telecom companies needing to move away from voice services, but in reality it still represents a growth opportunity for Telstra. New services such as VoIPX and HD Voice will help enable short term differentiation and an enhanced customer experience.


What does Telstra hope to achieve by attending Capacity Middle East 2015?

Capacity Middle East, as an event, has grown in stature and importance over the past number of years and we’ve enjoyed its growing effectiveness. We will be making a couple of big announcements about infrastructure deployment that will allow us to serve all of the UAE and the broader region more effectively. Through this we hope to continue to generate genuine interest in Telstra locally, build on our existing technology partnerships and foster new ones too.