Conroy flashes Telstra iPhone in Senate

Conroy flashes Telstra iPhone in Senate

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy flashed his Next G-connected iPhone in the Senate today to show the resilience of his carrier's share price.

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Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy flashed his Next G-connected iPhone in the Senate today to show the resilience of Telstra's share price.

Conroy flashed the device when asked by Shadow Minister for Communications Nick Minchin about the damage to Telstra's share price after delivering news of his telecommunications reform, which would see Telstra split its retail from its wholesale arm.

Telstra (TLS:ASX) shares today rebounded after taking a short, sharp dive yesterday, hitting a four month low at $3.09. At the time of writing, Telstra's share price has returned to its $3.23, where it hovered around the time of Telstra's exclusion from the first NBN proposal.

ZDNet.com.au understands Conroy has had his iPhone for around a year, making it a 3G rather than the recently released 3G S. The iPhone's connectivity is provided by Conroy's department, Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy, which is believed to rely on Telstra's Next G network.

Conroy has previously aired his admiration for Apple's device, earlier this year calling it a "sexy gadget".

Minchin also asked Conroy today to "explain to the Senate the policy rationale for seeking to exclude Telstra from acquiring additional spectrum for advanced wireless broadband?"

Telstra's exclusion from bidding for spectrum was widely seen as the cruelest component of the proposed bill on the day that it was delivered news of its separated future. It's also the one thing that's likely to kick start Telstra's critical spending again, as it holds back from capital expenditure on new mobile network assets until the spectrum goes up for auction around 2012.

Conroy replied: "Because of policy failings of the two previous Governments, Telstra was allowed to become just about the most vertically integrated telco company in the world."

"We have said we will put a restriction on Telstra from moving into the next generation spectrum that will be available in the next few years to ensure that it will not dominate every single platform," Conroy said, adding that Australian consumers faced the slowest yet highest priced broadband compared to nearly anywhere else in the world.

Minchin went on to suggest that Telstra's exclusion from spectrum auctions devalued the government-owned asset; however Conroy pointed out that Telstra could buy it if it submitted to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission an undertaking to structurally separate.

Conroy said the premise of Minchin's question was "hypothetical" and "entirely flawed".

"Telstra can choose," said Conroy.

Meanwhile, Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, who was recently criticised for Tweeting in Parliament, late yesterday Tweeted that "kevin wants you to invest in a 43bill nbn thought bubble", in an attempt to attack the government's separation plans.

Topics: NBN, Banking, Broadband, Government AU, Networking, Telcos, Telstra

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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Talkback

11 comments
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  • Some choice!

    "Telstra can choose," said Conroy.

    Just like a mugging victim "chooses" between handing over his wallet or receiving a bullet in the head.

    Blackmail seems to be illegal for everyone except the government.
    anonymous
  • On the bus

    Telstra has abused its market position for too long.

    This is exactly what it has had coming to it for the last five years.

    To quote Sol Trujillo, "You either on the bus or you're off it" - I think in this instance Telstra may choose to want to be 'on the bus' as its future is pretty bleak otherwise.

    Great call by the government!
    anonymous
  • Telsta made its own bed

    About 8 years ago Telstra did a bunch of customer feedback, the result of which recommended the split for the benefit of the customers. Telstra clearly didn't go ahead with the split, instead they buried the report internally.

    Boo freaking hoo to Telstra. It's about time. Good on the Government. If you bought shares in Telstra tough luck, you've had years to see what a bully and horrible player they've been.
    anonymous
  • Some choice

    Anon, I agree. And what about the insider trading by the Sovereign Future Fund!

    Also, "Stephen Conroy flashed his Next G-connected iPhone in the Senate today to show the resilience of Telstra's share price."

    Primary school antic in Our Senate!!

    Cheers
    anonymous
  • Conroy is a disgrace

    This guys is simply using anything he can to take a crack at Telstra, because he figures that its an easy target.

    He has no real rationale behind his plans, although I suspect he hopes that permanantely damaging Telstra might make it harder for them to fight it when he tries to shove his mandatory filter into the works =P
    anonymous
  • heeh like the comments on the articles...

    It's pretty much like RTA, and freeways...

    RTA can plow a freeway and you'll have no choice to move.
    anonymous
  • Get off the crack

    Telstra an easy target? You're joking?

    Rationale is simple --> level playing field in the wholesale and retail markets.

    Permanent damage! What about the damage to the rest of the market?
    anonymous
  • Ned was a gentleman.

    Don't understand Senator Conroy's thinking when he said "We will put a restriction on Telstra from moving into the next generation spectrum that will be available in the next few years to ensure that it will not dominate every single platform".

    Will the Rudd Government blackmail any Australian company who, by their efforts in the market, and by competition, forge their way to market leadership. If one car manufacturer in Australia, by producing superior products, dominates would Mr Rudd legislate that they only produce vehicles with square wheels?

    As the wireless network is completely separate from the copper cable what other reason could Senator Conroy have for the blackmail than to assist his NBN monopoly gain unfair advantage over its competitor, Telstra.
    anonymous
  • Quite simple

    The deal before Telstra is simple: relinquish the monopoly and be an equal participant or stay where you are, which eventually means stay behind. Even a child can understand that.

    By the way, telstra did not achieve things fair. They were and are an overpriced monopoly, delivering substandard service.
    anonymous
  • Superior Products?

    The truth is that Telstra has not dominated the market by providing superior products, but by abusing their monopoly on the infrastructure that was built by TAX PAYERS to screw their competition and ultimately the TAX PAYERS.

    They had every opportunity to make good money as a fair monopoly wholesaler, but instead they chose to do things like charging wholesale rates to other carriers that were higher than their retail pricing.

    They also bullied two consecutive governments, who control the regulations that govern how they do business. The moral of the story is if you bite the hand that feeds you enough times, you will eventually get slapped!
    anonymous
  • Conjob Conroy bats for SINGTEL!!

    What disingenious plan have chairman KRUDD and able sidekick Conjob got up their sleeve.

    We all know Harold Holt done the bolt....wonder if they are planning any swims??

    Before they do they should be shot for treason for tearing apart Telstra for the Singtel/OPTUS lobby group!!!
    anonymous