Telstra and Microsoft have expanded their strategic partnership in Australia with a new five-year agreement aimed at accelerating Australia’s digital transformation efforts with Telstra’s network and Microsoft’s technology.
The agreement will see Telstra launch a dedicated end-to-end Microsoft practice, make Microsoft the anchor tenant of Telstra’s new intercity fibre network, place most of Telstra’s applications on the public cloud by 2025 and increase collaboration to support hybrid working and develop environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.
Telstra’s dedicated Microsoft practice aims to provide a new suite of digital offerings centred around hybrid working and cloud migration, using technology like Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams and more.
The practice will initially focus on manufacturing, retail, agriculture, utilities and finance, with Telstra’s managed services and technology consulting business Telstra Purple delivering the offerings.
Telstra and Microsoft will also continue co-developing products and merge the network and the cloud for new offerings, like their recent collaboration Branch Offload, a 5G-enabled edge computing solution for enterprises.
Telstra will also be Microsoft’s largest supplier of its network capacity requirements on terrestrial fibre in Australia, as part of being the anchor tenant of its new intercity fibre network. Microsoft will also explore boosting its capacity on Telstra’s Asia-Pacific subsea cable network.
The agreement also looks to speed up Telstra’s migration of its internal IT workloads to the public cloud. Azure will be Telstra's preferred cloud partner, in line with the telco’s multi-cloud approach.
The agreement also lays out ESG initiatives aimed at improving sustainability outcomes in Australia and enabling Telstra to meet its own commitments.
The two companies will also combine the secure data exchange capabilities of the Telstra Data Hub platform with Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability to provide data insights to Telstra’s enterprise, government and small business customers.
Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn said the deal is aligned to the telco’s T25 growth strategy.
“As the go-to partner for Microsoft in Australia, this expanded agreement will turbocharge how we deliver compelling, all-digital experiences,” Penn said.
“The pervasiveness of technology in businesses today and its ability to transform their operations, improve productivity, reduce their environmental impact and meet evolving customer needs means there’s no one-size-fits all solution.”
Penn added that the 2000-strong Telstra Purple team of technology experts is another differentiator for the company aside from its network.
“Our strategic partnership with Microsoft is on a scale not seen before in Australia, and it will be Australian businesses who will benefit at a time when the urgency to digitise and transform their operations has never been greater,” he said.
Microsoft chief executive and chairman Satya Nadella said, “Digital technology is foundational to the resilience and differentiation of every organisation.”
“Our partnership brings together Telstra’s leadership in network connectivity with the breadth and depth of the Microsoft Cloud to address key challenges, including hybrid work and sustainability, and support Australia’s growth.”
Telstra has had a long-standing partnership with Microsoft, co-developing solutions like the Telstra Data Hub in 2019 and giving first dibs to the telco for certain Microsoft offerings like the Surface Go with 4G and eSIM support for Windows 10 PCs.
Telstra at one point was also the exclusive distributor of Office 365 in Australia. The exclusivity ended in 2013 when Microsoft allowed resellers to sell the suite directly.