......what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again - there is nothing new under the sun.Those 3,000 year or so old words are so apt they might have been written for today's Australian telecommunications industry financial reporting periods.
The last working day of the month with nothing to be done except to see just how much icing will be added to the cake. One of the new Sri Lankan sales reps has sold nine data links so far in January and it would be great if she could get to ten in a single month....an unheard of achievement in only a fifth month on quota. We have been told that we will receive the first 1,000 mbps pure IP order today - which will also be a major milestone in that newish sector of our business. There are also two other very large corporate orders that may well come in today as well as the end of much corporate order 'surge'. Residential ADSL orders have already broken the January record by a long way as have new wire line services - so well past time to focus on February.
February always poses challenges for reasons other than it being the shortest month of the year. In the corporate business these challenges are 'state of the buyer's mind' mostly with the hangover of uncompleted work in the previous December being caught up in January and then a hiatus inevitably seems to follow. Partly this is due to 'new thinking' engendered by the Christmas break but mainly it seems to be due to budgets and revised pans and the belief that there is up to June to make any further decisions for the financial year. In the residential businesses competitors seem to assess what went wrong with the first half of the year (for those for whom it did go wrong) over January and start various programs to make more frantic attempts to reach their full financial year targets in early February. This usually results in increased advertising together with even more esoteric 'special offers'.
One of the 'changes' we expect to see is a renewed 'marketing effort' by Telstra Retail. Over the last three months their advertising and marketing expenditures seem to have dwindled with the ratio of churn aways to churn tos moving more and more in Exetel's favour. There is also a noticeable level of Exetel customers who churned to Telstra Retail returning to Exetel after their two year contracts are up and the financial and other freebies that 'encouraged' them to churn are no longer present. That is particularly satisfying to us as it indicates that Telstra doesn't have the money to continuously buy market share from a company like Exetel but it will continue to 'weaken' the higher priced ISPs.
The other changes that we expect to see in the very near future are to Optus own internet offerings and what they offer to their larger ISP/mobile wholesale customers. From the little we can observe, Optus, together with iinet and TPG, have had less than stellar achievements over the first six months of the current financial year. It will be interesting to see what those three companies report in the half year results - I expect the entertainment value I used to get from Eftel's half yearly tissue of misdirection will be more than amply made up by reading what Optus, TPG and, especially iinet's "spokespeople" are going to regale their investors with in their half yearly dissertations.