Telstra Australia privatisation on the agenda post-election

Telstra chairman Bob Mansfield is seeking a meeting with the Australian federal government to finalise privatisation plans for the company.

          Telstra Australia chairman Bob Mansfield is seeking a meeting with the Australian federal government to finalise privatisation plans for the company.

          Less than a week after the government's re-election the privatisation of Telstra is firmly on the agenda.

          Telstra Australia owns 50% of New Zealand-based TelstraSaturn and that will rise to 62% after the purchase of Clear Communications, announced last week, goes ahead.

          Mansfield says the board supports full privatisation of the company provided Telstra does not have to incur additional burdens that others in the commercial world are not subject to.

          "The board and I look forward to discussions with our major shareholder, the federal government, to ascertain their current views and plans on this critically important matter," he says.

          The Howard government supports the full privatisation of Telstra, but has not provided a specific framework for its sale, simply stating it will occur when country services are up to scratch.

          Speaking at Telstra's annual general meeting today, CEO Ziggy Switkowski says the next stage of development in the industry will be competition based on data services, quality of networks, innovation and attractive pricing.

          He says that on the 3G front, both domestically and offshore, Telstra has now secured ample spectrum at reasonable prices maintaining 3G will evolve from existing 2.5G services.

          Telstra, he says, is well positioned in the market, reducing costs last year by $A550 million.

          The company was unwilling to comment on reports of job losses as a result of its takeover of New Zealand's Clear Communications.

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