EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW: Ellie Sweeney, head of global wholesale, Telstra

29 October 2015 |


Telstra’s new head of global wholesale Ellie Sweeney discusses growth opportunities in Asia.

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Ellie Sweeney took her new position in August, and brings 20 years old of experience across consumer, SME, enterprise and government segments in sales, operations and delivery capabilities within the ITC and digital media industries in Australia and Europe.

She has been with Telstra since 2007 and in July 2013 took the role of executive director of solution sales at Telstra Global Enterprise and Services in July 2013, overseeing the sales product teams across mobile, voice, data and cloud. Shortly before taking her new role, Sweeney relocated from Telstra’s Sydney office to Hong Kong in July.

In her first interview in her new role, Sweeney tells Capacity that she has already leveraged her background in sales, strategy and operations far more than she expected to: “That probably says something about where wholesale is right now,” she says. “And how quickly it is moving away from just carrying voice or data. It feels an exciting time to be a part of the industry while there are so many disruptions and dynamic changes happening.” 

She has spent the last four months meeting Telstra’s carrier customers and partners. “Investing time in conferences and building deep relationships with our customers and partners across the world is key. That feedback is crucial to understanding what is happening in the market and in turn, leveraging our current positions,” she said. 

She is excited by the growth opportunities presented by the $697 million acquisition of Pacnet, giving it ownership of Asia’s largest privately-owned subsea cable “Together with delivering high capacity and low latency, the submarine capability that we have in Asia-Pacific is really starting to drive our business,” says Sweeney. 

The Pacnet acquisition also landed Telstra a foothold in China through Pacnet Business Solutions China (PBS), while the operator has since moved to extend its presence further in the region. In August, it launched a joint venture with Telkom Indonesia offering enterprises in Indonesia, while it is also in talks with San Miguel about investing in a joint venture in the Philippines. “Asia-Pacific is a very clear growth market for us, which we will continue to invest heavily in,” adds Sweeney.

Sweeney also believes that the SDN capabilities, which Telstra inherited from the Pacnet acquisition and has since invested in further, will help to ensure its network meets the demands of its customers. “We have a clear strategy with regards to SDN and our core network. We have a roadmap to position our business very clearly and firmly in Asia-Pacific,” she says.