Optus slashes nearly 1000 staff in a year

The telco has now let go of 962 staff, 9.9 per cent of its workforce, compared to a year ago

Optus has shed 305 staff over the three months to 31 December, 2012, SingTel announced today.

The telco has now let go of 962 staff, 9.9 per cent of its workforce, over the last 12 months. Consequently, staff costs fell 3.6 per cent.

For the six months to 30 September, 2012, Optus cut 746 staff, 7.6 per cent of its workforce.

SingTel announced its third quarter results today, with Optus' operating revenue dropping 5.7 per cent to $2.3 billion for the three months to 31 December, 2012.

For the nine months to 31 December, 2012, operating revenue dropped 4.4 per cent to $6.8 billion.

Total mobile revenue dropped 7.1 per cent to $1.5 billion for the quarter, comprising 66 per cent of total revenue.

Net profit also dropped 9.2 per cent to $160 million during the quarter.

SingTel attributed the revenue drop to the reduction in the mobile termination rate, which took effect from 1 January, 2012; a drop in equipment sales of $43 million; and service credits associated with device repayment plans reducing revenue by $28 million.

Optus added 58,000 postpaid customers during the quarter. However, it lost 36,000 prepaid customers due to churn from prepaid wireless broadband products.

Postpaid customers now make up 57 per cent of Optus’ customer base.

A lower average revenue per user (ARPU) from discounted broadband plans has seen its consumer on-net fixed revenue drop 3.5 per cent, with a total of 993,000 on-net customers at 31 December, 2012.

During the quarter, the telco extended its 4G coverage to Brisbane and the Gold Coast and has upgraded more than 4000 sites under its U900 migration program, with free cash flow dropping 30 per cent to $519 million due to higher capital expenditure.

Optus also recently let go of long-term contracts with resellers, including Telechoice and Boost Mobile.

SingTel said revenue for Australia is expected to decline by mid-single digit level.

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