Australia’s Telstra has published its financial results for the six months ended 31 December 2018, posting a more than 27% year-on-year decline in net profit. While the company noted that its results had been ‘impacted by the further rollout of the [National Broadband Network]’ and said parts of its business ‘continue to face short term challenges’, it was keen to suggest that there are positive signs, ‘particularly with the significant increase in retail post-paid mobile services’. Nonetheless, total turnover for the period under review was down 4.1% y-o-y at AUD13.79 billion (USD9.8 billion), while revenue excluding finance income totalled AUD12.59 billion, down from AUD12.81 billion. EBITDA for the first half of the telco’s current fiscal year stood at AUD4.26 billion, representing a 16.4% drop against the corresponding period in 2017, while net profit after tax stood at AUD1.23 billion, down from AUD1.69 billion.
In operational terms, Telstra reported a total of 17.956 million retail mobile services in operation at 31 December 2018, up from 17.609 million a year earlier. Of those, 8.105 million were post-paid handheld retail (Dec-17: 7.692 million), while pre-paid handheld retail accesses totalled 3.264 million (3.575 million). Mobile broadband (data card) subscriber numbers continued to decline, however, falling to 3.723 million at end-2018, from 3.964 million a year earlier. Turning to the fixed line sector, Telstra reported having a total of 3.663 million ‘retail bundles and standalone data’ services on its books at end-2018, up from 3.532 million twelve months earlier, while by contrast retail standalone voice connections slumped to 1.685 million, representing an almost 25% y-o-y decline.