America's largest telco, Verizon, is making a stronger push for corporate customers in the Asia-Pacific region in a move that will see it competing head-to-head with Telstra International.
Verizon has "significant plans" for its secure internet and cloud computing products around the region following a company restructure earlier this year.
While it is not targeting Australia specifically, Verizon wants more business here as part of a global marketing drive. The maturity and growth of Australia's services sector makes Australian companies a target, Verizon Enterprise Solutions chief marketing officer John Harrobin said on Wednesday.
"We believe that we are positioned to be one of the handful of players worldwide that can serve the mission critical needs of enterprise customers," he said at an annual Asia-Pacific media forum. A large contingent of Australian journalists was invited to the forum for the first time.
The move into the region puts Verizon in direct competition with Telstra, which wants its international arm to sell more global data and telecommunications services to companies with offices around Asia.
Telstra International owns an undersea cable network around the Asia-Pacific region and Hong Kong mobile company CSL New World Mobility Group.
Telstra chief executive David Thodey recently cited expansion into Asia and more multinational corporate clients as a key strategic priority for Telstra in 2013. But he admitted Telstra was not going after the largest companies because it was still too small.
Harrobin noted that Telstra International still lacked infrastructure in key growth areas.
"Telstra has done a remarkable job with respect to building a company within Australia and [has] very laudable plans to deploy globally as well.
"But when you look at where the opportunities are and the assets that are required to serve them ... if I were to compare their asset base with other asset bases, I would probably conclude it would be harder for them to expand globally without certain partnerships."
Verizon already provides telecommunications for some Australian government departments and for companies in the financial services, mining and manufacturing industries. It is not targeting only global companies, but would happily provide cloud-computing services to medium-sized companies that have only Australian operations, Harrobin said.
IT services was moving from an on-premise service to a cloud-based service, and this would be a "massive disruption" in the sector, he said.
"It is in this discontinuity for Verizon to reposition itself in the marketplace and capture additional value."
Verizon merged its global wholesale, enterprise and government, and global wireless divisions earlier this year to create Verizon Enterprise Solutions. This arm contributes about a quarter of Verizon's annual revenue, which reached $US110 billion in 2011.
Harrobin claims it has the largest internet protocol [fibre] backbone in the world, most integrated 4G (LTE) network globally and the "most enviable client list on the planet".