Telstra slams Optus deal report

Telecommunications heavyweight Telstra has launched a blistering attack on outspoken analyst Paul Budde over a recent report into its deal with Optus, with a spokesman saying "that man never lets the facts get in the way of a nonsensical comment". Budde's report claimed that Telstra had negotiated a cheaper wholesale copper access deal with Optus to protect its network assets, as, he said, the deal will push back the advent of VoIP technology competition in the market.

Telecommunications heavyweight Telstra has launched a blistering attack on outspoken analyst Paul Budde over a recent report into its deal with Optus, with a spokesman saying "that man never lets the facts get in the way of a nonsensical comment".

Budde's report claimed that Telstra had negotiated a cheaper wholesale copper access deal with Optus to protect its network assets, as, he said, the deal will push back the advent of VoIP technology competition in the market.

The report said that Telstra's recent agreement on pricing for PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) access from mid-2003 to mid-2006 with its chief rival was designed to protect the telecommunications player's "aging network" from becoming obsolete.

However, Telstra spokesman Rod Bruem said that the notion that Telstra negotiated a "cheap deal" with Optus was nothing but a "media beat-up".

"Pricing for the service was determined by the ACCC [Australian Competition and Consumer Commission]," said Bruem. "The comment by Budde saying 'after close to a decade of failed, or at least very painful, negotiations, Telstra has come up with this announcement' is total nonsense."

Bruem said Optus had signed a two year deal with Telstra and the negotiation process that was reported in the media was simply it being renewed.

"IP infrastructure is definitely on its way, but trying to build up what happened as an anti-competitive move is just a search for a headline," he said.

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