NBN busi­ness tac­tics rile telco bosses

Mercury (Hobart) - - BUSINESS - SUPRATIM ADHIKARI

TPG Tele­com ex­ec­u­tive chair David Teoh has ex­pressed con­cerns that the com­pany rolling out the Na­tional Broad­band Net­work is pur­su­ing busi­ness cus­tomers.

Mr Teoh yes­ter­day joined the chief ex­ec­u­tives of Tel­stra and Vo­cus in la­belling NBN Co’s move a waste of tax­payer funds.

Speak­ing to share­hold­ers at TPG’s an­nual meet­ing, Mr Teoh said the push to roll out fi­bre to ar­eas al­ready well served by tel­cos needed to be ques­tioned.

“We do have con­cerns about NBN’s in­creas­ing in­volve­ment in the busi­ness mar­ket in ar­eas where there is al­ready sub­stan­tial ex­ist­ing fi­bre, from nu­mer­ous com­pet­i­tive car­ri­ers,” Mr

Teoh said.

While TPG’s rep­u­ta­tion was built on pro­vid­ing broad­band ser­vices to con­sumers, its busi­ness of­fer­ings were gain­ing trac­tion in the mar­ket, he said.

That pro­vided a hedge against the pres­sure on its mar­gins be­cause of the NBN, Mr Teoh said.

“Our cor­po­rate busi­ness has been con­tin­u­ing to grow qui­etly, es­pe­cially in terms of prod­uct and ser­vice qual­ity,” he said.

Mr Teoh said most peo­ple “know the TPG brands in the con­sumer space”.

“But our rep­u­ta­tion for ser­vice qual­ity is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly well re­garded in the large cor­po­rate and en­ter­prise mar­ket, and some suc­cesses that we have had since the year-end re­in­force our cre­den­tials in that space,” he said.

The NBN roll­out weighed on TPG’s earn­ings the past year. Un­der­ly­ing earn­ings, which ex­clude “one-offs”, fell $4 mil­lion to $818 mil­lion dur­ing the pe­riod, and num­bers are ex­pected to come un­der fur­ther pres­sure this financial year.

Tel­stra chief An­drew Penn and Vo­cus chief Kevin Russell have both been openly crit­i­cal of NBN Co’s in­tru­sion into the busi­ness mar­ket. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Russell, NBN Co has de­vi­ated from its orig­i­nal re­mit and is not op­er­at­ing as a whole­sale ac­cess provider.

“The gov­ern­ment needs to is­sue NBN Co with a new ‘state­ment of ex­pec­ta­tions’,” he said.

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