Telstra CEO Andrew Penn (pictured) highlighted its mobile business registered its first growth in four years during the second half of its fiscal 2021 (to end-June), explaining in an earnings statement it expects further gains in its current year.

He noted its confidence in the future stems from a stronger performance in its mobile business, with service revenue rising 3.7 per cent year-on-year in H2, and continued discipline on cost reductions.

“We are clearly building financial momentum”, Penn stated adding “our underlying business will return to full-year growth” in fiscal 2022.

The executive also pointed to “green shoots in some of our growth businesses and a diminishing impact from the NBN”.

Full-year net profit rose 3.4 per cent year-on-year to AUD1.9 billion ($1.4 billion), attributed to declines in depreciation and amortisation, and finance costs.

Revenue dropped 11.6 per cent to AUD23.1 billion, with its overall mobile business falling 8.1 per cent to AUD9.3 billion, mobile service revenue flat at AUD6.8 billion and device sales down 24.5 per cent to AUD2.5 billion.

Post-paid subscribers rose 1.2 per cent to 8.6 million, with ARPU up 1.3 per cent  to AUD48.16. Prepaid increased 7 per cent to AUD20.83.

Its 5G network spanned 200 cities and towns across the country for more than 75 per cent population coverage, with around 1.6 million compatible devices connected.

Telstra is moving into the final year of a four-year turnaround programme: Penn stated it completed or was on track to deliver around 80 per cent of its the targets, including net cost reductions of AUD2.3 billion. Total operating expenses in fiscal 2021 declined 10.2 per cent.

The operator set revenue guidance between AUD21.6 billion and AUD23.6 billion for fiscal 2022, ranging from a 6.5 per cent decline to a 2.2 per cent gain. It earmarked between AUD2.8 billion and AUD3 billion for capex, up from AUD3.1 billion in fiscal 2021.

Telstra plans to return up to AUD1.4 billion of the proceeds from a sale of part of its tower business to shareholders in fiscal 2022 through an on-market share buy-back.