During a financial presentation on Wednesday, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn unveiled his company’s plan to invest an additional AU$3 billion (US$2.31 billion) over the next three years in network upgrades that will enable Telstra—Australia’s largest telecommunications carrier—to meet surging demand for broadband and set the stage for future fifth-generation connectivity that will underpin the Internet of Things.
Penn’s announcement follows on a reported 37% net boost in Telstra profits during the last fiscal year, which ended on June 30. The disclosure also follows on a rash of recent fixed and mobile network outages that have impacted Telstra and its customers, although Penn denied that the investment plan is directly related to those outages. Explaining that Telstra normally spends between AU$3.5 billion-$4 billion annually for network improvements, Penn described the planned AU$3 billion outlay as an additional investment “to enable our customers in Australia and internationally to take advantage of the wonderful things that technology and innovation provides.” The investment is also expected to enable Telstra to keep pace with Vodafone, Optus and other rivals that have been making competitive inroads in Australia’s wireless market.
As stated by Telstra CFO Warwick Bray, a significant part of the $3 billion investment budget will go toward improvements in the speed and coverage of Telstra’s fixed and mobile networks. Funds are also earmarked toward the deployment advanced network and cloud computing services and in digitizing interfaces with business and residential customers. Describing his company’s networks and customers as “our biggest assets,” Penn told reporters: “we must invest to set new standards and deliver excellent experiences.”