AusPost to launch digital mailbox this month

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AusPost to launch digital mailbox this month

Free online bill service to fight off mail losses.

Australia Post has unveiled plans to launch its online bill-paying service, Digital Mailbox, at the end of the month in a bid to fight off bleeding revenues in its traditional mail business.

The free service, hosted on Telstra's cloud infrastructure, allows customers to receive and pay bills from authorised institutions such as banks, telcos and other service providers.

The government business enterprise has signed up Telstra, AMP and Westpac to date to send customers' bills and messages over the service, rather than via traditional mail or email.

Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour revealed this week that the service was already active and being tested internally by staff ahead of its formal launch.

"This is not email because the difference is this has no spam, you will not be open to people being able to intercept what's coming through as easily as email, and you will be able to do your payments," he told media on a results briefing Thursday.

Fahour would not disclose the cost of the Telstra deal, which also included a wider managed service deal for Australia Post.

However, former Optus executive and general manager of telco products at Australia Post, Maha Krishnapillai, told a conference this week that the company would "be working closely with data centre providers and cloud [providers]" to deliver services in future.

The service is partly aimed at stemming ongoing losses in the company's regulated mail business. Australia Post recorded a $146.5 million loss in mail, despite $182.5 millions profits in retail and $361.5 million in parcels and express businesses.

The Digital Mailbox forms part of a $350 million investment in the company's mail business, as well as a wider $2 billion program to revise logistics and "create a universal digital platform".

But it is already fighting off potential competition from the likes of Digital Post Australia, a joint venture between Salmat and Computershare that will use the Zumbox platform, hosted on Macquarie Telecom infrastructure, to deliver a similar service.

The company, which is yet to reveal a formal release date, won a trademark infringement case brought by Australia Post in August.

It is yet to reveal accredited customers but chief executive Randy Dean said most institutions would be unlikely to sign exclusive agreements with Australia Post, keeping the door open for a rival mail service.

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