Telstra Profits Climb as Boss Fires Oz Broadband Warning

18 August 2008

SYDNEY: Australian telecoms giant Telstra has posted a 13.5% rise in annual profits, but ceo Sol Trujillo warned the government that its delay in launching a nationwide broadband network is costing the economy A$2.4 billion ($2.1bn; €1.4bn; £1.1bn) a year.

Telstra registered annual post-tax profits of A$3.7bn, with broadband and mobile revenues particularly strong, offsetting a decline in fixed-line incomes as total revenues rose 4.7% to A$24.8bn.

Trujillo boasted of "best in the world-type numbers", and forecast revenue growth of between 3% and 4% for this year.

A tender process is currently underway to provide broadband to 98% of Australians, with Telstra – the former national telecoms carrier – being forced to provide information about its network so other companies can prepare bids.

The broadband coverage is expected to cost A$10bn, with the government stumping up A$4.7bn, but a final deadline for tenders has not yet been announced.

Trujillo argued there was a "A$200 million loss for every month of delay" in building the new network, and that it was time for Telstra's rivals to "put up or shut up" on their offers.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff