Telstra shareholders to vote for mobility and the internet

Morris Kaplan

Morris Kaplan is a guest blogger.

Morris Kaplan, one-time stockbroker and venture capitalist, brings his finance skills and recent experience as a business journalist and writer to IT, with a special interest in telecoms and how communications is being transformed by technology.

Telstra shareholders are waiting – yet again - for an outcome at the October 18 annual meeting to approve the NBN deal. The recent decision by the competition regulator has spooked Telstra shareholders, who fear it could delay approval of the group's $11 billion agreement with the National Broadband Network operator.

The regulator has asked Telstra to resubmit the document could threaten Telstra's ability to meet the timeline of having its own shareholders approve the deal at its October 18 annual meeting. The NBN deals which will see Telstra switch off its copper wires, and receive $11 billion for migrating its fixed line customers onto the NBN.

Switching off copper wires may sound like a big deal, and it is in quantum terms, but it’s not before time. Consumers have already migrated to mobile in droves and apps are making smart phones the communications and transaction device of choice. It’s not just copper wire telcos that are being left behind, its print newspapers too who are rapidly facing a world of web browsers who are finding new and enticing sources for their news each and every day.

Like newspapers, Yahoo too has seen its CEO marched out of the door due too dwindling eyeballs. And with internet and mobility comes the opposite of scale. Whereas scale and giants like Telstra and News Corp controlled their communications space now a new order is emerging. In the media space AOL in the US has quietly been buying up niche web sites such as The Huffington Post and, more recently, TechCruch, a news site, and in effect creating a new business model. This is more like a federation of websites rather than a conglomerate. These sites have one thing in common: they get good traffic because of referral and on the internet this is referred to as earned traffic.

Advertisers will pay top dollar to get qualified visits from very specific groups of consumers. The trend will be for increasing ‘niching’ as web entrepreneurs come in and pick off parts of the big incumbent’s businesses. A the big elephant in telcos, Telstra will do well to focus on new technologies and not be wed to fixed copper wires, although given China’s appetite for copper, those copper lines will be worth their weight in gold in 5-10 years time.

Tags: Tesltra, browsers, fixed line, internet

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