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Optus plans up to 480 job cuts as it revamps consumer division

[SINGAPORE] Optus, Australia's second-biggest mobile- phone carrier, plans to cut as many as 480 jobs as it revamps its consumer and enterprise divisions and seeks sustainable growth.

The unit of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd notified affected employees on Monday, with some likely to be offered alternative positions within the company, said a Singtel official who asked not to be identified per company policy. The official declined to say how much money the changes would save. The Australian newspaper reported the planned number of job cuts earlier on Monday.

SingTel is looking to maintain the profitability of its Australian operations as competition intensifies in Singapore's S$11 billion telecommunications market, where the government is expected to award a fourth mobile phone license this year. SingTel's Australian business accounted for about 57 per cent of revenue in the 12 months ended March 2015, with Singapore accounting for the rest.

"These changes will see the creation of a new customer service model which involves simplifying Optus' billing and customer care systems, reducing customer handoffs, and ensuring customers get a more consistent experience," Optus said in a statement Monday, without disclosing the extent of cost or job cuts.

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Optus is cutting back after spending to add content available on its TV service. The carrier's sports offerings including Italian Serie A, the English Championship, German Bundesliga, UEFA Europa League and the European Rugby Champions Cup, according to its website.

Singtel generated S$7.3 billion of its revenue at home in the year ended March 31, 2015 and controls half of the cellphone market despite having lost its monopoly in 1997. Singapore's mobile-phone penetration rate was 148 per cent in 2015, compared with 93 per cent a decade earlier, according to Infocomm Development Authority. Its residents are ranked as the most- active users of social media in the Asia Pacific.