Telstra hopes to finalise the terms of its $11 billion National Broadband Network deal with the Government by Christmas and to put the scheme to a shareholder vote in the first half of 2011.
CEO David Thodey outlined this timetable yesterday, along with the telco’s general strategy for the future, to its annual investor meeting in Sydney.
He said legislation to reform the telecommunications regulatory regime and laws to set the operating conditions of the NBN Co would need to be passed before the shareholder vote could be taken.
However Thodey stressed that the future of Telstra did not depend on the NBN deal, saying the telco had contingency plans in place.
”They want to spend $43 billion, I get $11 billion I can take to shareholders – great, let’s get on with life. If not, then let’s go and do something else,” he said.
The Telstra CEO gave a detailed breakdown of the $1 billion investment announced last month to fund a plan to grow market share, simplify company processes, and improve customer service,
He said the investment would help meet growing demand for mobile phone handsets, as well as T-Box and T-Hub devices; develop new digital services for business customers; fund new network applications and services; finance additional promotion and advertising; and simplify company systems.
He also outlined a company-wide program – known internally as Project New (and as Project Old by some cynical investors who say they have heard it all before) – that he said would simplify the business, improve customer service and cut costs.
The program involves 500 employees implementing 27 programs to reduce spending on third parties, improve Telstra’s online customer service, improve field workforce productivity, simplify prices and reduce the company’s operating costs.
Thodey said that in the first two months of the current financial year, Telstra, among other things, has sold 165,000 bundled offers and 64,000 T-Hub and T-Box services, and added 73,000 post-paid mobile subscribers and 32,000 fixed broadband subscribers.