Who Owns Telstra?

Telstra

Telstra as major telco in Australia

Telstra is the largest Telco in Australia, with 18.8 million mobile service customers, as well as 3.8 million subscribers for fixed bundles and standalone data services and 960,000 retail fixed standalone voice services customers. The telco has the widest mobile coverage in Australia, and is also a global company with a presence in several countries.

In 2018, Telstra launched its commercial 5G service in Australia and has since become the front runner. Right now, Telstra’s 5G network coverage is over 50 percent of the population, and the telco is targeting 75 percent before the end of June – by far, the widest in the country right now.

And Telstra goes beyond that, with more meaningful projects and investments in areas such as the IoT, small business environment with platforms like GoDigital, and kids safety with a partnership with Spacetalk.  

Telstra also wholesales their network to several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), and even owns the copper wire that connects the NBN to most Australian homes. In other words, if you’re in Australia, then there’s a good chance you have used one of Telstra’s services one way or the other, especially SIM only plans.

In this post, we’ll tell you all about Telstra’s history, ownership, and what they have in store for the future.

Telstra History

As a result of the Australian Federation, the Postmaster-General’s Department (PMG) was formed in 1901 to control all telecommunications services in the country – which would include what is known as Telstra today.

By 1975, PMG was replaced by separate commissions for different types of communications. The Australian Telecommunications Commission (ATC) was created to handle telco services in the country, and was traded as Telecom Australia, which is Telstra for short.

1993 also say the formation of the Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (AOTC) – a merger of the ATC and the Overseas Telecommunications Commission. That same year, the AOTC was renamed Telstra Corporation Limited. By 1995, both the overseas and domestic arm adopted the name Telstra for uniformity.

Telstra ownership, management

Telstra has been a government-owned telco for most of its history. However, the government began privatising the telco in 1997 by selling off shares, and this was finalized in 2011. As of today, Telstra is no longer owned by the government. The telco has over a million shareholders – it is the most widely held company on the ASX.

The first Telstra CEO as a private company was David Thodey, who served from 2010 to 2015. Mr. Thodey focused mainly on customer service and built the foundation of what Telstra is today.

The current CEO is Andy Penn, who took over in 2015. Mr. Penn’s era has been rocky at some stages, experiencing losses and job cuts which forced the restructuring of the telco into a more simplified company, based on the T22 strategy. However, under Mr. Penn’s leadership. Telstra has also grown in its wholesale mobile network, and is the current leader in Australia’s 5G network.

The future of Telstra

Telstra has largely been an oversized telco, selling everything from pay TV services to mobile services to both consumers and businesses. Their size can be overwhelming at times, considering the amount of services and offers the telco has. As a result, Telstra announced their Telstra2022 (T22) strategy to improve customer experience, simplify operations, and reduce cost base.

Telstra2022

Telstra2022 strategy. src

The T22 strategy will be accomplished mostly by simplifying Telstra’s services. The telco has already revamped its mobile plans several times since the T22 strategy went into effect. The last revamp was in February, when Telstra scrapped its postpaid plans for a new upfront postpaid plan lineup.

Final words

Telstra is owned by Australians, pure and simple. Since the government floated it (put it up for sale on the ASX) the company has supported mum and dad investors across the country with strong dividend performance.

Unfortunately for investors, competition in the category from companies like Optus and Vodafone means Telstra’s share price has declined, reducing the value of the investment for those mums and dads and lowering dividend payments. We don’t offer personal financial advice, of course, but think carefully which stocks you want to invest in. Australian Telco is not going to get any less competitive any time soon.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.