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Post signs up takers on digital round

AUSTRALIA Post has signed up Westpac to its new digital mail service as the race continues among parcel delivery operators to grab an early share of a potentially lucrative new market.

Westpac joins Telstra and AMP as partners in the Australia Post Digital MailBox initiative, which allows customers to access all their confidential letters and bills, and to make transactions, through a single online source.

The move is part of efforts by Australia Post to generate new digital revenue streams as its traditional mail business comes under pressure from electronic media.

The Australia Post partnership is in direct competition with Digital Post Australia, a joint venture of Computershare (40 per cent), Salmat (40 per cent) and a US digital mail technology start-up, Zumbox, which launched in March this year.

In June, Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour told a Senate committee that the company's letter business would lose $100 million this year, a figure that was expected to worsen as its digital mail service cannibalised its traditional letter business.

Australia Post, which a generation ago had a monopoly on communication, today has less than 1 per cent of market share, with email, text messaging and social networks grabbing the other 99 per cent.