Directory assistance move to Sensis logical, privatisation still on: Switkowski

Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski has fuelled speculation that Telstra is currently exploring the option of merging its directory assistance call centres with its telephone book and advertising division Sensis, saying that the move is a sensible one.

Asked whether the two divisions would eventually form a combined offering Switkowski told Computerworld:

“That makes sense. Whether that will be the direction we will endorse is a decision we are yet to make. In terms of directory assistance, [our]core competence…is the excellence of our call centre operations and sales efforts. But getting involved in CTI enhanced responses to customer enquiries – [it is] absolutely [on the agenda]".

Switkowski said that as e-commerce starts to be adopted in the SME sector, Sensis would respond accordingly with offerings that would see it play a far greater role in the scheme of all things Telstra:

“Sensis and the directory businesses have as big an online business and revenue streams as any that are out there, with a more confident outlook of how it will develop commercially than any other business out there. It has a nice balance of old economy and new economy businesses and our expectation is that they will be more important in the Telstra scheme of things in every passing year,” Switkowski said.

Switkowski also extended an ebullient welcome to deposed Attorney General and new Communications Minister Daryl Williams.

“I welcome Daryl Williams to what is a wonderful portfolio…he will have a wonderful time…we don’t have a lot of shared history to date. The matter of the privatization of Telstra is now a matter for the parliament to debate and decide. I don’t have any reservations at all,” Switkowski said, confirming that he had also wished phoned Richard Alston to wish him bon voyage.

Switkowski also reaffirmed the intention to privatise Telstra, saying that it was business as usual despite the reshuffle:

"The company and the board are supportive of the completion of the privatisation process. My assumption is that as the Prime Minister has made these changes he is mindful of the need to continue to support that agenda. I don't detect in theses changes any reduction in the commitment of the government to promote the privatisation of Telstra," Switkowski said.

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