Telstra CEO Andy Penn promises $3bn to end The Big TITSUP

Wow, that escalated quickly

How much does it take to fix an ailing carrier network? Three billion is the latest guess, according to a just-issued results announcement by Australia's dominant telco Telstra.

The carrier must almost yearn for a simpler time, when it could promise a mere AU$50 million to set things straight after 2016's first round of TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance) incidents.

Within about two months and after more outages, AU$50 million had become $250 million.

Now, while boasting that the carrier has plucked the national goose to the tune of a $5.8 billion profit (up nearly 36 per cent), CEO Andy Penn has decided a salve is needed to bring some relief from its hissing: including the $250 million already announced, the carrier is going to empty $3 billion of new capex out of the money-truck over the next three years.

As well as networks, the money will go into “digitisation – to radically simplify our core and improve the ways we work”, and “customer experience”.

The UX angle is supposed to offer “a seamless and simple customer experience across all interactions”, so look for more self-service portals for reporting network outages.

In the months since February 2016, the carrier reckons it's got the mobile network recovering “eight times faster”, so the next TITSUP should presumably end after hours rather than days.

The presentation also asserts that customers on the 4G network get four times better speed compared to an undefined benchmark point in the past.

The carrier might have hoped its profit performance, and a $1.5 billion share buyback, might have cheered investors, but the carrier's sales performance wasn't stellar.

Its sales revenue only rose by $400 million (to $25.8 billion); Telstra Retail business and consumer sales declined by $200 million to $16.7 billion; Global Enterprise and Services offset that, rising $700 million to $6.3 billion; and Wholesale was static at $2.6 billion.

The NBN line item shows the carrier got $558 million in the 2016 financial year in the form of one-off payments from the National Broadband Network. ®

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