Telstra CEO Andy Penn (pictured) highlighted the need for continued investment in new technologies to remain competitive, while also announcing a 5.8 per cent fall in profit in the first half of its financial year.
The Australia market leader posted a net profit of AUD1.7 billion ($1.3 billion) for fiscal H1 2018 (the six months to end-December 2017). Telstra attributed the drop to writing off a AUD273 million stake in TV and video platform Ooyala. Revenue grew 5.9 per cent year-on-year to AUD14.5 billion.
In its results statement, Penn said to remain competitive the company needed to “lift our intensity in relation to short term performance” and continue making “significant foundational investments” to meet the increasing demand for data and transition to 5G.
Telstra is one of the operators tussling for 5G leadership and opened its latest test facility in early February. It has also been at the forefront of gigabit LTE development – the technology supporting several 5G use cases prior to commercial rollout.
While investing in new technology, the operator also scaled back on core fixed network costs. Its measures have resulted in a 7.2 per cent reduction in outlay in the half year, Penn said. He added the programme would continue into its H2.
In comments reported later by The Sydney Morning Herald, Penn noted job reductions had also taken place in parts of its fixed-line business.