- Telecom go figure
- Telecom go figure
Telecom's half yearly results are either a resounding success or an indication of life gone astray depending on which financial analyst is quoted, but generally speaking the company seems to me to be doing quite well for itself.
Of course, I'm no financial consultant and I don't know anything at all about reading annual reports or the finer tricks that can be employed to make things look good or, and this confuses me, bad. Remember: in accounting being creative is a bad thing.
But the numbers are somewhat positive. Telecom's written off a bunch of something in AAPT - hundreds of millions of dollars - and expects AAPT to make some money or at least not lose so much in the next year.
AAPT is the telco in Australia that Telecom bought at the height of the telco bubble - y'know, just before it burst and destroyed the entire industry as we knew it. Telecom has come out of it all mostly OK - a report said Telecom was the second least bad telco in the world, which can't be bad.
But it's the broadband world that we're most interested in - and there Telecom is having some trouble justifying what's going on.
JetStream customers have doubled in number to 54,000, which is nice. Glad to see you all coming on board.
But the network reach of JetStream is huge - there are so many exchanges now JetStream-ready that 54,000 is a drop in the ocean compared with the potential customer base. As I read it, it's less than 5% of the possible market. I'd put that down to one simple factor: the price. Theresa Gattung told the Herald that it was a lack of applications and content. Price, apparently, is not an issue.
I'd suggest Theresa talk to some of her customers because I have to say price is a huge issue, especially when you take into account the tales of extraordinary billing that still roll onto my desk on a regular basis. Thousands of dollars in traffic charges are still being reported by users, tools to manage those bills are still absent without leave from Telecom's service and any service that charges 20 cents per megabyte is restrictive and unlikely to result in a huge uptake by users.
The Herald story also points to another alarming trend at Telecom - the reduction in capital expenditure.
"In the year ended June 2002 Telecom's capex was $778 million, only half what it had been the year before.
"Six months ago it expected it would at least maintain that level of capital spending, estimating $780 million for capex this year. But that was cut to $730 million three months ago and has been cut again to $650 million now."
That's money that is spent on the network and if Telecom is following through with its threat to reduce network expansion plans, that's terrible news for anyone who doesn't live and work in the major cities' CBDs.
Don't panic - it's not an acronym you should know about unless you're an IDG reporter.
Short week, one person away.
Somehow whenever there's a week with a public holiday in it we end up short staffed. It makes for a hellish week on Computerworld where deadlines are truncated and the editor generally is forced to declare some kind of constitutional emergency by the end of afternoon tea on Tuesday.
This week wasn't so bad, if only because I work from home and missed it all. Of course, Anzac Day and Easter are both bearing down on us and that's just ugly.
Ernie Newman, chief executive at the Telecommunications Users Association (TUANZ), once told me about his plan for re-jigging public holidays. Something about Christmas being held after Boxing Day so you can shop at the sales and summer holidays running right through January into February so you get all the good weather. Public holiday days would be equally and consistently dotted throughout the year instead of all being piled up at the start. He'd clearly thought it out carefully, possibly the result of one too many delayed flights, I fear.
So think of the reporters and editors and subs scrambling to get your Computerworld out to you as you muck about on Thursday and think about calling in sick on Friday. I shall certainly be thinking about them as I lounge about at the beach.