|Type||Public (ASX, NZX & NYSE - TLS)|
51.8% owned by Australia Government
|Slogan||Making Life Easier|
|Founded||As part of the PMG - 1901|
As Telecom Australia - 12 June 1975
As a company - 6 November 1991
|Location||Melbourne, Australia (headquarters)|
|Key people||Solomon Trujillo, CEO|
|Products||Voice, Internet access, Pay TV|
|Revenue||$21.3 billion AUD (2004)|
|Employees||36,195 full time (June 2004)|
Telstra Corporation ASX: TLS NZX: TLS NYSE: TLS is an Australian telecommunications company under joint public/private ownership, holding a dominant position in landline telephone services, large share of mobile phone services, domestic consumer (including dial-up access and "broadband" cable modem, satellite and ADSL services under the BigPond and Hypermax brands) and business data services, and cable television. Despite some setbacks, Telstra remains a profitable telecommunications company. The Australian Federal Government has recently announced it expects to sell its remaining share in 2006. A Senate vote passed on the night of September 14, 2005 has allowed this to occur.
Telecommunications services were originally controlled by the (government-owned) Postmaster General's Department (PMG). On July 1, 1975, separate commissions were established by statute to replace the PMG. Responsibility for postal services was transferred to the Australian Postal Commission (Australia Post). The Australian Telecommunications Commission (ATC), trading as Telecom Australia, ran domestic telecommunication services.
In 1989 the ATC was reconstituted as the Australian Telecommunications Corporation.
In 1992 the Overseas Telecommunications Commission, a separate government body established in 1946, was merged with the Australian Telecommunications Corporation into the short-lived Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (AOTC) which continued trading under the established identities of Telecom and OTC.
The AOTC was renamed to Telstra Corporation Limited in 1993. It has since been partially privatised but as of mid-2005 remains majority government-owned. A depressed share price is expected to delay the government selling its remaining 51.8% of the company for some time. Telstra began to establish its new identity and to disengage from its previous trading identities.
Telstra has faced competition since the late 1980s from Optus and a host of other smaller providers. It retains ownership of the fixed-line telephone network, as well as one of two competing pay-tv and data cable networks. Other companies offering fixed-line services must therefore deal with Telstra. Competing telecommunication companies have constantly accused Telstra of overcharging for wholesale access to their networks (notably for ADSL, allegedly to protect their cable-modem broadband product); the ACCC has often agreed but decisions by the regulator are very slow.
Telstra was partially privatised by the coalition government in the late 1990s, but it is still 51.8% owned by the government, which would like to divest the remaining portion but this had been blocked until the 14th of September, 2005, both by a hostile Senate, and because of financial and electoral considerations.
Earlier partial floats attracted a great deal of public interest but have, in many cases, been spectacularly poor investments, a majority of which was caused by global sentiment about telecommunications companies first inflating, and then just as quickly deflating the share price. There seems no immediate prospect of the share price climbing back to the level at which the earlier shares were originally sold.
The Australian Labor Party (ALP) has consistently opposed full privatisation and continues to do so. Their official party platform also notes a desire for the wholesale and retail arms of Telstra to be more "clearly distinct" within the company to enable fairer competition with private telecommunications providers who use Telstra's lines. In the past, Labor Party figures (including Lindsay Tanner) floated the idea of a breakup of the company into separate retail and wholesale businesses, though this proposal was dropped after opposition from trade unions. The Australian Greens, the Australian Democrats and key independent Senators Meg Lees and Len Harris held similar positions to the ALP, which meant that until the 2004 elections any bill for full privatisation was guaranteed to fail in the Senate.
Since the Coalition gained control of the Senate, it passed the privatisation legislation with a majority of 37-35. In many rural areas, the availability of mobile phone services and broadband internet services, as well as general service quality, remain topics of contention for many rural customers. Additionally, rural voters feel that a privatised Telstra will neglect its much less profitable rural networks, placing further pressure on the National Party not to support the sale. Ultimately, the National Party supported the sale, drawing criticism from state Farmers Federations, but not the National Farmers Federation.
On 14th September 2005, the Australian senate concluded that the sale of Telstra would be legalised, with mass media dispute over the effects. The decision coincided with Mark Latham's press release stating bitter remarks about Australian politics, overshadowing the sale of Telstra. In the senate, Senator Barnaby Joyce drew criticism for reneging on his campaign promise to oppose the sale of Telstra.
OwnershipAustralian government: 51.8%
Fixed Line Services
Telstra owns and operates all copper line based PSTN services in Australia. The only competing fixed line service is the Optus network which uses HFC to deliver telephony services to a rather limited percentage of the population. Most of Telstra's profit is generated from fixed line services. Telstra recently issued a profit warning to due declined growth in the fixed line market. People seem to be shifting from their fixed line services to mobile carriers.
Telstra outsources a significant portion of network installation and maintenance to private contractors and businesses, such as ABB Communications and STCJV. As such, customers now frequently have to deal with third-parties when arranging the installation of a new phone line or a maintenance service call for a faulty line.
Mobile Telephony (Telstra Mobile)
Telstra operates GSM, CDMA and 3G mobile telephony networks throughout Australia. Telstra also provide Prepaid Mobile services, via Telstra Prepaid Plus, utilising all Mobile telephony networks that Telstra operates.
In late 2005, Telstra announced that it will replace all three networks with a new WCDMA network. 
Internet (Telstra BigPond)
Telstra, through its retail Internet Service Provider, BigPond, sells broadband internet access via ADSL, HFC cable, satellite, and wireless access through its EV-DO network.
Telstra, through its retail Internet Service Provider, BigPond sell dialup internet access.
As well as owning 50% of the Australian Subscription Television provider Foxtel, Telstra's Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) Cable network is one of the delivery systems used by Foxtel. Telstra also resell Foxtel's "Digital" products in Foxtel's service area and Austar's "Digital" product, in Austar's service area.
Telstra's ownership of Foxtel has in the past come under fire from the Australian Labor Party (ALP)
Sensis are also responsible for all of Telstra's telephony directory assistance, from basic (1223, 12455) to premium (1234) and emergency (000) services.
In September 2005, Sensis proactively made 235 staff redundant in an attempt to forestall a possible directive from Telstra to dismiss a larger number.
Market Position & Power
Telstra's market dominance extends beyond its historical PSTN voice and private data business, into newer markets such as Internet Access, Hosting, and Colocation services. In spite of competition from both foreign and domestic challengers, the former PTT has retained a strong grip on many of the country's most profitable customers.
Optus remains the companies' closest rival for lucrative business networks. However, Telstra supplies almost twice as many customers in the ASX200 with Dedicated Internet Access services.
Telstra has attempted to expand into international markets. More notable is a joint venture with Hong Kong entrepreneur Richard Li and his company Pacific Century Cyberworks during the late 1990s telecommunications boom. Their undersea cable venture, Reach, has struggled, with its book value downgraded to zero by the company in February 2003 (it continues to operate, though, and the company believes that it may still be viable in the longer term).
In 2002, Telstra also acquired PCCW's remaining 40% stake in Regional Wireless Company (RWC), giving it total ownership of CSL, then the most prominent of Hong Kong's six mobile operators.
Telstra also fully owns New Zealand subsidiary TelstraClear. The company was formed in 2001 from the merger of subsidiary TelstraSaturn (a 50/50 joint-venture with Austar which had previously acquired ISPs paradise.net and NetLink) and the telco Clear Communications purchased from BT Group plc. TelstraClear also operates a Cable TV brand Saturn.
For marketing reasons, two national sporting arenas bear the name Telstra. They are the Telstra Dome in Melbourne and Telstra Stadium in Sydney.