TeamTalk has eyes on capital fibre

Company's mobile radio business has taken a battering during the recession

NZX-listed telecommunications firm TeamTalk has its eyes on the Government's ultrafast $1.5 billion broadband prize and will bid to be its fibre network partner in Wellington.

Chief executive David Ware told shareholders at the annual meeting TeamTalk could lay fibre-optic cable to homes and businesses in the greater Wellington region and as far afield as Levin and Masterton under the scheme. The Government — which will invest in local fibre network companies alongside private investors such as TeamTalk — had absorbed the uptake risk by offering to pay for much of the cost of rolling out the fibre, meaning TeamTalk would only have to worry about building networks on time and within budget, he said.

"We're very comfortable with that ... we know what's involved and what the costs are but we certainly wouldn't be happy to take the risk around achieving connections." In August, TeamTalk reported a $3.83 million annual profit, up 3.4 per cent on the previous June year. Revenue firmed 1.1 per cent to $31.22m.

TeamTalk's mobile radio business — initially its core business — had been knocked about as transport sector customers cut their costs or went under in the recession, and it now contributed less than 50 percent of the group's revenue, Mr Ware said.

A small number of Auckland customers were trialling its new digital mobile network and the firm would extend it to customers outside Auckland as demand arose. Its subsidiary CityLink, a fibre-optic broadband network provider in central Wellington and Auckland, had also lost customers but continued to win new ones. Its net profit rose over 20 percent in the latest year.

TeamTalk's wireless broadband business Araneo and its wireless data services were still in their "embryonic" stages.

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