Coaltion alleges Telstra bullying

Australia's telecommunications bridesmaids have levelled another tirade at Telstra, accusing the incumbent telco of "bullying and threats" after new CEO Sol Trujillo called on the investment community to reject any further regulation.

The Competitive Carriers' Coalition (CCC), which represents carriers competing against Telstra, claims Trujillo's pitch to investors amounts to a demand of "complete freedom from competition" from the government, according to CCC executive chairman David Forman.

Forman said Trujillo was "inhabiting a parallel universe" adding the government needed to act decisively to check Trujillo's demands before the Telstra sale was effectively scuttled.

"The PM's telling him to pull his head in - there's a pretty clear message," Forman said, adding that Trujillo was either being badly briefed or ignoring advice A spokesman for Telstra rejected Forman's claims, describing assertions of poor briefing as "rubbish" and that Trujillo was "very well briefed".

"He would say that wouldn't he," the Testra spokeman said.

The Telstra spokesman added that Trujillo wanted to "maximize benefits to Australians in terms of telecommunications outcomes as well as get a good result for shareholders".

He said Trujillo had "made it very clear telecommunications competition is alive and well in this country" and merely "questioned the need for more regulation while setting up an environment where competition and investment is encouraged".

Cabinet is currently debating a proposal to set up a trust fund of between $3 billion and $5 billion to guarantee future proofing of regional telecommunications services after any sale.

Finance Minister Nick Minchin said last week that the government was prepared to delay any sale of the remainder of Telstra until it found a price it was satisfied with and refuted suggestions the company would be sold at any cost.

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