Optus response to Vodafone's Spotify deal on the way?

Optus soon to announce 'some interesting partnerships'

Optus could be planning a counter move to Vodafone’s Spotify partnership, judging from comments made today by the telco's CEO, Allen Lew.

“You will hear Optus announcing imminently some interesting partnerships in the content space as well as in applications and services,” Lew said on a conference call with media as Optus released its Q2 2014 results.

Last week, Vodafone announced that customers on its Red plans would receive free access to Spotify Premium, a music streaming service.

“In the digital area, it’s all about partnerships,” Lew replied when asked if Optus had any similar offers up its sleeve. “The key is where does the value equation lie in this partnership?”

Any deal should benefit both Optus and its customers, and content should be mobile and relevant to a local audience, he said.

“It also has to be something that you can get on the mobile that you are not also getting on another media,” he said.

Optus would also consult the larger SingTel group, bringing in lessons learned from other SingTel divisions.

Optus provided few new details on National Broadband Network negotiations with NBN Co on purchasing Optus’s HFC network. Bill Morrow, the NBN Co CEO, said last month that negotiations with Telstra and Optus could be finished by yearend.

Optus talks with NBN Co are “continuing quite satisfactorily, and I think the government and NBN Co would share that view,” said David Epstein, Optus vice-president of corporate and regulatory affairs. He said he couldn’t give a specific timeframe for concluding the negotiations.

Epstein said he didn’t think there would need to be upgrades to the HFC network before it could join the NBN, but it’s something NBN Co will have to decide.

“I think their main focus would be on ensuring ubiquity of coverage in coverage areas and integration of network infrastructure in a way that provided.”

On the data retention legislation introduced this month by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Epstein said stakeholders are looking for more detail. Before it was introduced, Optus and iiNet had noted the high costs associated with storing more data about their customers.

“At this stage, I think everyone’s looking for a bit more definition, including the government, otherwise they wouldn’t have foreshadowed the consultation program that they have.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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