Home Industry Strategy Telstra planning mass deployment of Internet kiosks

After trialling 50 Internet kiosks from PieNETWORKS in capital city airports around Australia, Telstra has entered into negotiations with the company to supply terminals for a large-scale deployment.

PieNETWORKS (ASX: PIE) told the ASX today that the trial "has been deemed successful by Telstra" and that it would "enter into a negotiation period in order to agree the terms for the deployment of a larger network of pieNETWORKS' Hotspot Webphones in the Australian market.

According to PieNETWORKS, the four month assessment period ended on 27 May and "After analysing the information gathered from the market assessment, Telstra has advised pieNETWORKS that they deem the assessment a success, providing confirmation of the business case to consider expanding the network of terminals."

Recently appointed pieNETWORKS chairman - and former Telstra executive - Justin Milne said: "Hotspot Webphones are a 21st century upgrade for the payphone. These user-friendly touch screen and keyboard operated devices offer access to the Internet, WiFi, online payments (including coin slot payments for small bills and credit top-ups), telephony and direct access to a range of Telstra services."

PieNETWORKS announced the trial agreement with Telstra in March 2010. The initial schedule was that the trial would be completed by the end of 2010. Since announcing the Telstra trial it has announced deployments of the units in Westfield and AMP shopping centres in New Zealand, in branches of the Police & Nurses Credit Society of Western Australia and at Wellington and Christchurch airports in New Zealand.

The trial of PieNETWORKS' terminals was not Telstra's first foray into these devices, nor its first engagement with PieNETWORKS.


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In January 2007 Telstra trialled Internet kiosks from the company at 10 installations around Australia as the result of an initiative from technology consultancy, SMS Technology and Management. SMS CEO, Tony Stianos, claimed at the time that SMS had "conceive[d] an opportunity, architect[ed] a solution and take[n] the concept to the client in an unsolicited way."

Telstra subsequently trialled a kiosk that combined a Telstra payphone with an ANZ automatic teller machine. The first kiosk was installed in Centre Road, Bentleigh in Melbourne's south-east and the two companies said they planned an initial pilot in up to five locations in Melbourne's suburbs. Further rollout was to be based on customer feedback on the concept. Nothing came of that project.

There have been three other initiatives by Telstra to deploy multimedia payphones. None of these was more ambitious than the first dating from 1997. The device was designed and developed in house by Telstra, which called for expressions of interest from manufacturers for rollout of an estimated 10,000 units in Australia and 40,000 for export. The project was subsequently abandoned and all the initial units removed from the network.



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Stuart Corner


Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.






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