Staff communication and the regulatory environment are the biggest challenges in Telstra's root-and-branch change program, says COO Greg Winn
Telecom Asia: How is Telstra's five-year transformation plan progressing‾
Greg Winn: The transformation is well under way, and we're pleased with the progress. The first and probably most visible highlight was the launch of the Next G mobile broadband network in October 2006. The new 3GSM 850-MHz network was built nationwide in a record 10 months, providing coverage to 98% of Australian citizens. The second one is a nationwide IP-MPLS core network that has 77 times the capacity of the existing core network. The network is essentially completed, and we have already migrated all of our Internet type of traffic onto it. We're now in the process of migrating all of our ATM, frame relay, VPN enterprise traffic onto the network, and the migration will be done by the end of June.
On the system side we will release later this calendar year a first system draft, called release number one, which is totally for consumer customers. It's a whole ecosystem embedding our market based management, tacking our customers, our segmentation scheme, our whole group of market engine changes, so we can move much faster in the marketplace.
What are the goals in the years head‾
In 2008 we will announce the second release of our system transformation, which is about bringing in more mobility and data capabilities to businesses. It also starts bringing in the operational supporting systems for the key network element on the fixed side of transformation, as we will start to install the new mega softswitches that are going to replace the classic softswitching infrastructure. In 2009 we will start getting into the decommissioning of legacy systems.
What are the biggest challenges‾
There have been two major challenges. Internally, the challenge is around communication with our employees. It's a difficult task and it requires a balance - not over-communicating or communicating too early, but making your message appropriate, targeted and timely. And that is always a challenge.
Externally, the biggest challenge has been the regulatory environment. It's well written in the public side about what issues we've been with the regulator. The regulatory environment in Australia makes it difficult to do investment and to speed the transformation. We're hoping that will improve.
What are the growth drivers in Australia‾
There are two places you must win. You must win in mobile, and you must win in broadband.
In mobile, the real battle is on next-generation services. By putting in higher speed bandwidth, better mobility and the vision of one-touch, one-click and one-screen, we make customer experiences easier. We're also taking market share in the fixed broadband space.