Telstra’s long history in Asia - a lot more than just cables and PoPs

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As the telecommunications industry gathers in Atlanta for ITW, it’s normal for companies to focus on what’s new.

Announcements like our deployment of the brand new high-speed INDIGO cable between Singapore and Australia or our expansion of our ‘Always-on’ connection service which is aimed at providing continuous connection on our busiest Asian routes represent important developments both for us and our customers – the latest investments we have made in enhancing global connectivity and our subsea cable network.

It is also, however, a time to reflect on the entirety of what we do and highlight some of the lesser reported facts about connecting the world to Asia – and Asia to the world.

Building and operating the largest subsea cable network in APAC with 30 per cent of the lit intra-Asia capacity is not easy. But in addition to that, we have also built a strong in-country footprint across the region in markets with different languages, cultural norms, climatic conditions, not to mention complex access regimes. That’s why we’re extremely proud of the work we’ve done to become the number one foregin telecommunications provider in South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines – and one of the top few in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.*

A shared experience creating Asian connectivity

These achievements are founded on a long history on the ground in Asia.

From the development of the first international networks into Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to work on the first Hong Kong to Singapore cable, we have been deeply involved in delivering connectivity in Asia. We were instrumental in the development on the first mobile networks in India and Sri Lanka, as well as the first 2G network in Thailand.

We are honoured to have contributed to these developments, and even more proud that some of the people who achieved these feats are still with us today more than 30 years later.

An ongoing commitment to in-country Asian expertise

Today, Asia is booming. The region’s economic rise has seen it called the “world growth engine”, driven by countries that make up more than 60 per cent of the world’s population, and those people are demanding connectivity! By 2022, it’s expected that Asian IP traffic will grow by 32 per cent every year, ultimately carrying as much as 5.7 exabytes every day – more than every word ever spoken by human beings.

And we are playing a vital role in supporting this growth. In January, Telstra made an investment on the Japan to US route on the new-generation New Cross Pacific cable. These investments are part of a long-term strategy to capture data demand across Asia and the Pacific, in conjunction with our leading position on the HK-US route and investment in both Hong Kong Americas and Pacific Light Cable Network.

When it comes to infrastructure we continue to: build out our subsea cable network boosting capacity and resiliency delivering our always on promise, increase our investment in our backhaul network across China, Taiwan, Japan & Korea, and be at forefront of providing connectivity between US & China.

But technology and connectivity don’t meet all our customers’ needs. That’s why we continue to build our local presence and engage with the local governments and the business community, to offer local service, support and counsel to customers around the world.

Relationship goals: Milestones in key markets

This enviable position is due to our culture of partnering with our customers, of having strong engineering expertise and an exemplary service record.

We have engaged local staff, forged public and private partnerships, and invested in domestic infrastructure making it easier for our customers to do business across Mainland China, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and more.

This year marks a decade of operations for our Telstra PBS joint venture in China, founded on the strength of our long-term relationships with Chinese partners. We were the first Sino-foreign joint venture with a cross-provincial IPVPN license in Mainland China, building and operating data centres, IPVPN networks and backhaul that now extend to 47 PoPs in 37 cities – with more coming soon. We are only western Telco with approval for cross border VPN into China.

We also celebrate our fifth anniversary of telkomtelstra in Indonesia; our joint venture with Indonesia’s largest carrier Telkom. Marrying Telkom’s extensive domestic network capability and infrastructure with our international and service capabilities, we offer end-to-end managed solutions across Indonesia.

Connect to Asian expertise

Individually, each of these developments offers answers to some of our customers’ biggest challenges in looking to connect with Asian growth.

But all together they underline the strength of our commitment – both in the ongoing development of our subsea network and our extensive, unique in-country people & asset footprint - to support our customers do business in Asia in bigger and better ways.

* Assessment based on three criteria, including each of total number of in-country employees, total in-country revenue and domestic network footprint.