Singtel Optus Australia
Singtel Optus Pty Limited is still the 2nd largest telecommunications company in Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore based Singtel. The company primarily trades under the Optus (Optus is Latin for "to choose" or "to decide") brand, while maintaining several wholly owned subsidiary brands, such as Virgin Mobile Australia in the mobile telephony market, Uecomm in the network services market and Alphawest in the ICT services sector.
The company was originally known as Aussat Pty Ltd. prior to privatization, when it became Optus Communications Pty Ltd. It was later renamed to Cable & Wireless Optus Pty Ltd. before changing again to its present name.
Optus is operating the D-series of communication satellite fleet (Optus-D1, D2 & D3) and consists of the B3 and C1. The company runs national teleports in Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra & Sydney.
Optus can trace its beginnings back to the formation of the Government-owned AUSSAT Pty Limited in 1981. In 1982, AUSSAT selected the Hughes 376 for their initial satellites, with the first, AUSSAT-A1, launched in August 1985. AUSSAT satellites were used for both military and civilian satellite communications, and delivering television services to remote outback communities.
With AUSSAT operating at a loss and with moves to deregulate telecommunications in Australia, the government decided to sell AUSSAT, coupled with a telecommunications licence. This licence was sold to Optus Communications — a consortium including:
- ¥ logistics company Mayne Nickless (25%),
- ¥ UK telecommunications company Cable & Wireless (25%),
- ¥ US telecommunications company BellSouth (25%),
- ¥ AIDC Limited (10%),
- ¥ insurance & investment company AMP (10%),
- ¥ insurance & investment company National Mutual (5%).
The new telecommunications company was designed to provide competition to then government owned telecommunications company Telecom Australia, now known as Telstra.
After privatization, AUSSAT became Optus and its first offering to the general public was to offer long distance calls at cheaper rates than that of its competitor Telstra.