Optus denies plans to cut 1,000 jobs to fund EPL deal

The telco has refuted reports that 1,000 jobs are on the chopping block, but conceded it would change its 'organisational structure' in future as it continually reviews operations.

Optus has denied reports that it is planning to axe 1,000 jobs in the immediate future to help fund its English Premier League (EPL) exclusive broadcast deal.

The report, published by The Australian on Tuesday morning citing leaked documents, said Optus was considering the redundancies as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

Optus has denied the reports, though it conceded that it would need to make changes to its organisational structure in future.

"Optus continually reviews its operations to ensure it has the right organisational structure in place to achieve its goals," an Optus spokeswoman told ZDNet.

"As our business evolves, we anticipate we will need to make further changes to the way we organise ourselves to help support our business goals, but we have no specific changes to share right now.

"Although our priority is to always communicate the details of any changes directly with employees first, Optus does not have plans to make 1,000 roles redundant."

Optus in November announced that it had won the exclusive Australian broadcast rights to the English Premier League for the next three seasons beginning August 2016, taking the most-watched football league worldwide away from pay TV provider Foxtel's Fox Sports.

In what CEO Allen Lew called "a great win", Optus has the rights to live broadcast all 380 Premier League games in every season until mid-2019 across home broadband and mobile.

The telco did not say how much the deal set it back, and has yet to reveal how it will broadcast the EPL.

Optus last month announced a rise in net profit of AU$19 million, or 9.1 percent, to AU$227 million for the last quarter of the 2015 calendar year.

The telecommunications provider's operating revenue was AU$2.43 billion for the quarter ending December 31, up 6.3 percent year on year from the AU$2.29 billion recorded during the 2014 December quarter.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) were AU$685 million, up AU$33 million or 5.1 percent from the AU$652 million announced in December 2014, which the telco attributed to growth in mobile and National Broadband Network (NBN) payments, as well as increased uptake of device repayment plans.

Free cash flow, on the other hand, plummeted by 52.1 percent year on year, from AU$306 million down to just AU$147 million.

Optus CEO Allen Lew attributed this loss in cash to continuing investments in the network, which is due to continue.

During the Australian Communications and Media Authority's 1800MHz spectrum auction, Optus spent and acquired the most, at AU$196 million, in order to improve its 4G coverage in regional and remote Australia.

"In the coming quarter, Optus will continue to strengthen and extend the reach of its 4G Plus network as it increases deployment across its 700MHz and 2600MHz spectrum holdings," Lew said.

"Following its recent acquisition of regional 1800MHz spectrum, Optus now has more spectrum assets to expand its network and improve its 4G coverage for more Australians."

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman published statistics last month showing that despite its network investments, Optus has retained the highest complaints ratio for all Australian telcos. It received 5.9 complaints per 10,000 services in operation for the October to December quarter -- a year-on-year rise of 9.3 percent.

With AAP

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