Telstra pours $650 million into mobile infrastructure

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Telstra pours $650 million into mobile infrastructure

Betting on 4G.

Telstra’s recent $650 million investment into its mobile infrastructure has seen it add 739,000 retail mobile customers to its books in the six months to December 31.

The figure represents a jump from the 607,000 retail mobile customers it added in the first half of fiscal 2013.

Since the 2012 financial year, Telstra has invested a total of around $2.6 billion into its mobile infrastructure - $650 million of that in the first half of fiscal 2014, ended December 31 2013.

It upgraded 1500 mobile base stations to 4G in the latter half of last year, bringing the total number of 4G mobile base stations to 3500 across the country, offering coverage to 85 percent of the population. It said today 26 percent of Telstra customers were now on handheld 4G.

Its customer base now sits at 15.8 million domestic retail mobile customers, including 4.1 million mobile 4G devices, compared to 1.5 million in the first half of fiscal 2013.

Telstra’s total revenue for the first half of fiscal 2014 came in 3.5 percent higher than last year at $12.6 billion. It also increased net profit by 9.7 percent to $1.7 billion.

However, revenue for its discontinued Sensis group - of which it sold a 70 percent (or $454 million) stake to a US-based private equity firm in mid-January - fell nearly 13 percent to $359 million.

It also incurred redundancy expenses of $126 million - a 26 percent increase on the previous corresponding six months - due its restructuring efforts, which will see 1100 operations jobs cut by June this year.

Fixed line revenue similarly fell to $3.6 billion, propelled by a 7 percent drop in fixed voice revenue, which came in at $2 billion. Fixed data revenue however was up 6 percent to $1.1 billion.

Group operating expenses increased by $155 million, partly driven by upfront costs in support of the implementation of Telstra’s largest contract - a $1.1 billion deal with the Department of Defence for its terrestrial communications network.

Telstra’s NAS business, buoyed by the acquisitions of NSC and O2 Networks, grew 29 percent to $821 million. Its cloud unit also experienced 29 percent growth, as did unified communications (28 percent) and managed network services (65 percent). 

It also collected $294 million in revenue from NBN Co, predominantly from the leasing of its pits and ducts for NBN infrastructure, as well as universal service obligations payments.

More to come

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