Australian telecom giant Telstra to axe 8,000 jobs

Andrew Penn- CEO Telstra

Mr Penn said the telecommunications sector had never been under more pressure, with the development of the NBN, significant increased competition, and huge pressure to invest in new technologies.

Telstra will cut 8,000 jobs to "simplify its operations and product set" as part of a $1billion cost-cutting plan.

"In the future, our workforce will be a smaller, knowledge-based one with a structure and way of working that is agile enough to deal with rapid change".

Mr Penn said while roles would no longer be required, he was hopeful new positions might be created.

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In May, Telstra warned that its 2017/18 earnings will likely be at the bottom of its guidance range of $10.1 billion to $10.6 billion, blaming increasing competition in mobile and fixed broadband, and rising costs from the national broadband network.

The warning sent its shares tumbling to a more-than six-year low of A$2.71.

Mr Penn said the current range of 1,800 plans on offer to business and personal customers would be slashed to 20 to help remove frustration many felt about issues including excess data costs.

"We have worked hard preparing Telstra for this market dynamic while ensuring we did not act precipitously".

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"We will take a bolder stance and use the disruption in the telecommunications industry to lead the market for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders", he said in the statement. It will include fixed networks, data centres, non-mobile fibre, the HFC network, worldwide sub-sea cables, exchanges, ducts, pipes, NBN-related revenues and relationships and Telstra Wholesale.

Establishing a standalone infrastructure business unit to drive improved performance and create optionality for the future including a potential demerger or the entry of a strategic investor post-rollout of the NBN.

Telstra said there was no issue for its own customers on 3G or 4G networks but a "vendor platform issue" had affected reseller services for "a small number of wholesale customers".

"There is virtually no technological innovation happening today that does not rely on a high-quality, reliable, safe and secure telecommunications network". In this world our infrastructure assets are becoming more valuable. "By creating a new infrastructure-focused business unit we will better optimise and manage these assets".

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While the telco is sticking by that forecast, it now expects a fall in earnings for 2019 to between $8.7 billion and $9.4 billion - excluding restructuring costs of about $600 million.

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