Allen Lew, Singtel-Optus' new CEO, has formally declared to put an end to Telstra's mobile service dominance and build Australia's leading network in a move that could trigger a multibillion-dollar construction arms race between the telco providers.
Mr Lew announced his plan to make Optus the nation’s fastest growing mobile-led multimedia organisation over the next three years – a move he acknowledged would need substantial investment to achieve.
This offensive tactic can be expected to concern Telstra, whose supremacy in the mobile market has been a key driver of its profits over the past five years as customers’ interest in traditional services (like home phone lines) dropped.
"We want to grow Optus and take back the market share," Lew said in his first sit-down interview since taking over Optus in October 2014.
"The network construction is a big, big part of what we want to do.
"We will get [our mobile network] to being the best."
Optus has budgeted to spend $1.2 billion on its fixed-line and mobile networks in financial year 2015, whilst Telstra is set to invest $1 billion to expand and maintain its mobile network during the same period.
In 2014, the top three telco companies generated close to $18 billion in revenue from mobile services.