Telstra chairman Donald McGauchie has slammed BT and Telecom New Zealand's management, saying the companies' underperformance measured against the Australian telco could not totally be put down to separation.
"We clearly and markedly outperform both companies," McGauchie said at the company's annual general meeting. While he acknowledged separation had its role in what he considered to be poor performance, he also believed that BT and Telecom NZ's management were to blame.
"Now I'm not going to ascribe all of that to separation because I think their management hasn't been entirely, well certainly hasn't been anything like as competent as ours."
He brought up the overseas companies while railing against the possible separation Telstra could face if it were to win the tender to build the government's $4.7 billion national broadband network.
"Split us up and you would likely see the same mess that other telco companies forced down that damaging and costly path are now in. Just look at BT and Telecom NZ if anyone has any doubt," McGauchie said. "Separation has meant that both companies are so badly damaged they are no longer capable of a major investment — certainly not the sort of investment required to build next generation networks."
He reiterated Telstra's stance that it would not bid unless Communications Minister Stephen Conroy ruled out further separation for Telstra in the case of winning the right to build the network. Conroy yesterday was not ready to provide that.
McGauchie said that the board had not yet made a decision on whether or not it would submit a bid by the due date next Wednesday.
"Telstra has other options, whether we lodge an RFP [request for proposals] bid or not," he said.