Combined coke machines, payphones to hit Australia

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SYDNEY -- Cola-Cola Amatil and Telstra, Australia's major telephony company, have joined forces in a deal that could see people buying cans of Coke from pay telephones within five years.

The strategic alliance is built around the 140,000 payphones and soft drink vending machines that CCA and Telstra have between them around Australia. The companies plan to combine sites, distribution and equipment maintenance, plus marketing campaigns around a common payment method using a joint card similar to a phonecard. Most Coke vending machines are already linked to control points by telephone lines.

One of the companies' first joint marketing strategies, to be developed this year, will reward repeat payphone customers with soft drinks and Coke vending machines users with free phone calls.

"The younger age groups are a prominent part of both our markets," says Janet Sayer, Telstra's payphone services general manager.

CCA is the market leader, ahead of Schweppes and Pepsi, in the soft drink vending machine market worth about $170m a year and growing by 10% annually.

The payphone market is also expanding rapidly, with Telstra selling 13 million phonecards last year.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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