Thodey pushes wireless broadband, PSTN in wake of NBN

Telstra sells 10,000 T-Hubs, but PSTN market continues to slip

Wireless broadband use will continue to rise regardless of Telstra negotiations with the Government over the National Broadband Network (NBN), according to the telco's chief executive officer, David Thodey.

Speaking at a meeting of the Trans-Tasman Business Circle, Thodey defended Telstra's core portfolio products - Next G wireless broadband and traditional PSTN telephony - by trumping technological leaps and increasing sales in both.

"Within three to years I forecast that virtually every person over the age of 10 will have access to the mobile Internet with one or more devices," he said, attributing its consumer success to devices like the iPhone, iPad and Android-based smartphones.

Thodey said wireless broadband already had 24 million subscribers - or 126 per cent penetration rates - and forecast growth of up to 240 million services in coming years.

The increasing amounts of video-based content uploaded to the Internet and continuing development of innovative applications he said would herald "a new world" in which wireless broadband would play an important part.

Telstra's continuing investment in Next G would focus on "delivering 4G-like performance", with speeds of up to 168Mbps. The telco claims to offer 42Mbps speed already through its Next G network using 3G, HSPA technology, and is currently conducting trials for an LTE network in both metro and rural areas.

Thodey assured his wireless broadband claims were not "veiled commentary" on the NBN, instead saying the continuing negotiations over the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network were "purely commercial". Despite increasing attention on the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009 - which would see the structural or functional separation of the telco - the Telstra chief said an "agreement remains achievable".

In his speech, Thodey also revealed that Telstra had so far sold 10,000 T-Hub devices since launch. The touchscreen landline telephone is part of the telco's bid to revive sales of PSTN telephony services, a slipping market for Telstra as fixed line and mobile services increase. The device's launch has been supported by a widespread marketing campaign.

Thodey recently celebrated his first anniversary as head of Telstra, after assuming the role from predecessor, Sol Trujillo.

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