NTT Communications seeks to make a name for itself in Australia

More acquisitions could follow pickups of Frontline Systems and Harbour MSP.

Japanese telco NTT Communications has lofty ambitions: it wants to be Australia’s top provider of network, cloud, data centre and other ICT services, according to a director with the company.

“We are probably the biggest company you’ve never heard of,” NTT Communications director of sales, Michael Fortescue, told Computerworld Australia.

“We’re working to get our name out into the market and the first step of making an impression in Australia is an investment in Frontline Systems and Harbour MSP.”

NTT Communications took a 70 per cent share of the Australian company Frontline Systems in May 2011; it will acquire the remaining 30 per cent in one-and-a-half years, Fortescue said. Harbour MSP is a Frontline subsidiary.

“NTT had a relatively mid-size operation here in Australia where we provided network services and data centre services, but we were really looking to accelerate our growth within the region.” The acquisition followed.

“Integration of the three companies is well under way,” Fortescue said. The company has kept the Frontline and Harbour MSP brand names, but unified the customer experience, he said.

“There may be other strategic acquisitions along the way,” he said. “But right now we’re focusing on serving our existing customer base, and cross-selling products and services into that base, and finalising the integration.”

NTT Communications launched an Australian enterprise cloud service in August. Data is hosted at nodes in Sydney and Melbourne.

“Data sovereignty is key for Australian customers,” he said. “They’re very keen to keep their data within Australia. We’re even finding that Victorian customers are very keen to keep their data within Victoria.”

Australia seen as growth market

NTT Communications, headquartered in Japan, “has recognised the Australian market as one of the leading growth markets in the Asia-Pacific region, other than China and India,” Fortescue said.

The company’s “strategy in Australia is to become the leading provider of ICT solutions,” including infrastructure services, data centre and network services, cloud services, managed services and professional services, he said.

With the Gillard government’s recent “Asian Century” whitepaper stressing the importance of working with China and others in the region, Fortescue said his company is positioning itself as “the Australian gateway to Asia,” and a company that can “decode the complexities of doing business across the Asia-Pacific region.”

“We have a very strong footprint of data centres, networks and offices, and a multicultural workforce right across the region.”

NTT Communications is targeting “multinationals both in Australia and inbound multinationals,” Fortescue said. Customers include “many Western multinational companies [who] are setting up their head offices either in Sydney or Melbourne,” he said.

The telecom provider has several global financial companies as existing customers in Australia, he said. “We’re also finding some of the natural resource companies are coming on board.”

The NBN offers opportunities, Fortescue said. “We believe the NBN will dramatically increase the penetration of network and Internet services to Australian citizens.” That will “increase the workload” on data centres, cloud and other infrastructure services and as a result create more business, he said.

The NBN is “not the reason we wanted to expand into Australia, but it certainly is going to complement the services we provide to our customers.”

NTT Communications sells mobile services in Japan but Fortescue said the company is not interested in 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum that will be up for auction this April and is highly sought by Telstra and Optus. The company does not currently “have a play in mobile in Australia, so the odds are no,” he said.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags AustraliaNBNdata centresManaged ServicesICTdata sovereigntyacquisitionJapanFrontline systemsAsiaHarbour MSPtelecomGillardNTT CommunicationsProfessional ServicesmultinationalAsian Century

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