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Home > Business > PTI > Report

More Australian jobs coming to India

July 06, 2006 14:07 IST

Australian telecom giants Telstra and Optus are both eyeing offshoring jobs to India as part of cost-cutting measures in the face of a slow growth rate.

More jobs in Australia's $33 billion-a-year telecommunications sector are likely to shift to India, as Telstra is understood to be considering a major deal with India's Wipro, a television channel said on Thursday.

The deal would involve moving parts of IT development and management offshore, it quoted sources as saying.

According to the channel, Optus held staff briefings across the country on Thursday for thousands of call-centre staff about its plans to boost existing Indian call-centre numbers from 500 to 800 immediately.

"Today, we reported to staff on the progress of our programme to grow offshore call-centre operations capability to supplement our domestic call centres," Optus spokeswoman Melissa Favero said.

"We commenced this programme nearly two years ago, and since then have grown our business and correspondingly increased our customer service headcount," she said.

Functions to be carried out by Optus's offshore contractor Convergys will eventually include consumer broadband cable support, sales order management, financial services, mobile post-paid customer services, small and medium business mobile business activations and mobile customer service, the report said.

"We announced the number of seats in our Indian call centre would grow over time and it had 150 seats initially and approximately 500 seats now. To date, we have recruited and trained 800 people for the Indian team," Favero said.

However, Favero did not disclose how many of Optus's 3,000-plus call-centre staff would eventually be located in India, except that a "majority" would still be in Australia.

In 2004, Telstra sent about 1000 jobs offshore through several companies, including IBM, EDS and Infosys, as part of an overhaul of its information technology operations.

Now under fresh pressure to cut costs, Telstra is apparently looking at extending the strategy.

Wipro, which had annual sales of $1.8 billion last year and does a limited amount of work with Telstra, is also seeking to expand its business here, the report said.

Telstra sources revealed that there had been talks between senior executives and Wipro in Melbourne recently, something which public relations chief Andrew Maiden denied.

"I am not aware of talks between Telstra and Wipro. Questions relating to arrangements used by Telstra contractors are better answered by those contractors," he said.

Wipro is understood to have offered Telstra significantly lower rates to perform work out of India.

Last month, Telstra outlined 2600 jobs that would be cut over the next two years and said there could be more to come.

The report said this is part of a broader plan to cut up to 12,000 jobs over the next five years, but Telstra did not reveal how many positions would be redeployed to lower-cost third-party providers such as Wipro.

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