Optus snares $32M bank contract

Telecom New Zealand Ltd.'s Australian subsidiary AAPT Ltd. has lost its EFT-POS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Service) services account with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The $32.5 million contract was won by SingTel Optus Pty. Ltd. It is for four years.

AAPT spokesman Andrew Bristol said AAPT was informed two months ago about the change and is still running the EFT-POS network, with the transition to Optus to take place shortly.

"We were running the EFT-POS system for the bank, on Optus' and Telstra's platforms."

The EFT-POS service was run under a separate contract from the major services contract signed by Telecom NZ Australia (TCNZA) with the bank in 2000.

The services contract, which AAPT took over when TCNZA was merged with AAPT last year, ran for five years, was reputed to be worth up to $71 million a year and involved infrastructure management, IP-based voice, data and video managed services, remote access, international network services and risk, security and performance management.

TCNZA partnered with Cisco, ComTech and EDS on the deal, which ends in the second half of next year.

Bristol said AAPT is talking to the bank about possibly continuing to provide services after the contract expires, but added that such a comprehensive contract might not be renegotiated.

"The dynamics of the sector have changed since the deal was signed, and it's been reported that the bank is unlikely to renegotiate another whole-of-business contract," he said. "We're working with the bank to assess how we can best continue to work with them."

At the time of signing, the Commonwealth Bank deal was seen as a big win for TCNZA, which beat Telstra and Optus in a keenly contested tender.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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