Telstra 'fightback' grows broadband share

In the first two months of the financial year, Telstra added 32,000 fixed broadband customers

Telstra today revealed it was no longer losing consumer fixed broadband customers -- reversing a trend of market share loss that had been stinging the customer over the past few years.

“There is growing momentum in the business as customers respond positively to the initiatives we have taken over the past nine months, including the introduction of competitive bundled offers, better value broadband plans, and devices like T-Hub and T-Box,” the telco's chief executive David Thodey said this morning at the company's annual investor day for press and analysts.

In the first two months of the financial year, Telstra added 32,000 fixed broadband customers, compared with a net loss in the previous year. In the same bi-month period, 176,000 mobile broadband customers had come aboard. The company added 608,000 in the past financial year.

Later in the briefing, Telstra's new group managing director of its Consumer and CountryWide division, Gordon Ballantyne, said Telstra was engaged in a "fightback" effort in the fixed broadband market.

The telco had been bleeding market share in fixed broadband, Ballantyne said -- with most of the losses going to competitors rather than consisting of customers switching to mobile broadband options. He added that Telstra wanted to step up its competitive efforts in the mobile markets -- both post-paid and pre-paid segments.

The news comes several months after Telstra dramatically cut prices and boosted download quotas on its BigPond broadband products.

Since that time, rivals like iiNet and Internode have sought relief from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission with relation to the company's new pricing -- claiming that the company was not making the same pricing available to wholesale customers as it was to its own retail division.

Late last week Internode managing director Simon Hackett again speculated that Telstra Wholesale was giving some retail internet service providers better deals because they hadn’t built out their own competitive broadband infrastructure as some, like Internode, TPG and iiNet had.

But Telstra fired back at Internode yesterday, stating it would not engage in what it described as a “public battle” with its customer, in the midst of delicate negotiations that are slated to affect Internode’s ADSL broadband pricing around the nation.

Other notable figures for the first two months in Telstra's new financial year include 165,000 bundled offers sold, and a total of 64,000 T-Hub and T-Box devices -- bringing the total sales for those two devices to around 100,000 units.

Telstra had come under fire from customers who purchased the buggy T-Hub - customers where experience freezing screens and unexpected closures of applications. Telstra had admitted that the product had gone to market too early.

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Jenna Pitcher

PC World
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