We're all connected
In simpler times, the word "telecommunications" might have conjured up an image of a telephone -- and not much else. These days, though, the telephone is less the shining symbol of the industry and more an antiquated relic of its humble beginnings. Telecom today is high-tech and mobile, encompassing wireless communication, broadband internet access, and cable and digital TV; it also offers landline phone services and more.
These varying forms of modern communication aren't even distinct services anymore. The lines have blurred considerably, so while your mobile phone downloads the latest music video, you can call your best friend across the globe with a computer and an internet connection. Due to this growing interrelation among telecom products, the sector's main players have spread their reach into internet and digital television to offer bundled "triple-play" phone, internet and cable TV subscription packages to customers.
Telecoms becoming increasingly integrated
As the internet has grown and developed into an integral part of our lives, the transmission of data has led to a high level of integration between the IT and telecommunications sectors. Increasingly, the two have combined forces as they have come to rely on each other, particularly through broadband and mobile services. Part of this integration is due to the government's sell-off of its holdings in Telstra -- a three-phase effort in 1997, 1999 and 2006.
Prior to the divestment, there were only two telecoms operating in Australia: Telstra and Optus. The liberalisation of the telecom sector has allowed a number of competitors to enter the market, and has also opened competition for the supply of equipment. Now there are more than 160 licensed carriers across the country, providing local/long distance/mobile phone services, internet access via broadband access, satellite services and much more. This industry-wide boom has created many more employment opportunities than previously existed.