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Telstra winning the mobile war as customers flockThe blue telco is a clear winner in the smartphone revolution with 4G and mobile penetration soaring to unprecedented heights, while Optus and Vodafone are losing customers.  


Telstra mobile customers jumped 6% or 937,000 to 16 million during financial year FY14 to June 30, new figures released show. 

5.2 million Telstra customers now use 4G devices (3.8m smartphones + 1.4m broadband devices) – which is the highest among its rivals – Vodafone has over 1m 4G users – while Optus grew 4G base stands at 2.3 million (+124,000) which is less than half its arch rival’s share. 

Telstra’s post-paid revenue soared 20% due to the popularity of the new ‘Caps Encore’ offering. Prepay and mobile broadband revenues also rose, although hardware sales fell 0.3%. Mobile revenues rose 5% to $9.7bn, driven by increased data usage and smartphone ownership. 

The increased user base was attributed to reliable mobile and IP network and increased focus on the customer, more personalised service approach at call centres and in-store, and new offerings including ‘New Phone Feeling’ and refreshed ‘entertainer’ bundles. 

Optus mobile customers fell 1.3% to 9.4 million during its latest quarter to June 30 (Q2), new figures released by the second largest telco, show. Mobile revenues fell 1.5% to $1.32 bn. 

Vodafone Hutchinson Australia had just under 5 million customers by the close of FY13/14 – a fall of almost one million, compared to FY12/13. 

This pales into comparison with Telstra’s 16 million mobile userbase, reaping the rewards of more reliable network compared to rivals, which it has invested billion in 4G, fixed and the new public WiFi service. 4G coverage will soon hit 90%. 

Telstra average revenue per user (ARPU) rose 0.7% and post-paid mobile churn fell 0.5 bps to 10.3%, which denotes the rate at which customers are leaving the service. Customer advocacy rose 3% – not bad for the telco once despised for it pitiful customer service.  

Net profit jumped as a result – up 14.6% to $4.3 billion and earnings rose almost 10% to $11.1 billion.  Meanwhile, Optus net profit declined 2% in Q2. 

Total sales rose 3.4% to $25.1 bn – mobile, fixed data and Network services (NAS) which includes cloud and Unified Communications all rose although fixed voice business fell 7.5%.  

Of its 3 million fixed broadband customers almost 70% are on bundled services. 

T-Box, The Hero

Another notable hero for Telstra in FY14 was its IPTV service T-Box – sales rose 35% but ‘PayLite’ Foxtel on T-Box  demand soared 150% to 185,000 while premium subscribers rose more modestly by 26,000, but now totals over half a million subscribers. Telstra’s ‘entertainer’ bundles drove Foxtel demand. 

Digital content service dropped but subscriptions to Telstra apps like NRL and MOG rose 76% to 155,000.

International revenue rose 15% to $179 million and Chinese-based car website Autohome was also a revenue driver, part of its digital media drive in one of the world’s biggest markets. 
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