Telstra finishes 2006 with a ring

Telstra's antics have certainly kept us amused this year. And as 2006 draws to an end, the laughs just keep on coming.

Telstra's antics have certainly kept the readers of Full Duplex amused this year. And as 2006 draws to an end, the laughs just keep on coming.

Over the last 12 months, representatives from the nation's largest telco have sparred with the Chaser, taken a few jokes on the chin from comedian and Optus boss Paul O'Sullivan, and made polite banter about chook raffles.

And who could forget the unscripted shower that drenched the audience at Telstra's annual investor day?

Of course, nobody would deny it's a big task running the nation's largest telco, and the boys in blue are doing a better and better job of it every day, by all accounts (mainly their own, of course).

But perhaps they take themselves a little too seriously, leaving the door open to the odd joke at their expense? With all this in mind, it's appropriate to end this year's coverage of the telco sector with one final dig at Telstra.

Your writer rocked up bright and early this morning to witness Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo's speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, hosted by Sydney's Westin Hotel.

As has become the norm at large events, before Trujillo said his piece, the MC asked the large business audience to switch off their mobile phones -- it's only polite not to interrupt the speaker, after all.

"If it's a Telstra phone, turn it back on and just put it on silent mode," Trujillo quipped after the MC gave him the microphone. "If it's somebody else's, keep it off."

Of course, inevitably someone's mobile did go off a few minutes into Trujillo's speech.

Now this sort of thing would normally be more annoying than humorous -- if the mobile in question didn't belong to Telstra's own chief spin doctor -- group managing director, Public Policy and Communications, Phil Burgess.

      Phil Burgess

The table full of reporters clustered around Burgess at the back of the room watched as Burgess hurriedly tried to turn the phone off, its ring causing heads to turn as it echoed throughout the room.

Better luck next year, Phil.