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Special edition Telstra break-up podcast

In a massive "special edition" of our telco podcast Twisted Wire, we talk to virtually everyone in the telecommunications industry about the break-up of Telstra, including man of the moment, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor

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The man of the moment, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, is one of many guests on this week's Twisted Wire.

Make sure you've got the best part of an hour to spare before you sit down to listen. We've reached out to our industry contacts far and wide to get a diverse range of views on this week's announcement on telecommunications reform.

Assuming the government is able to pass its legislation Telstra will be faced with two choices — voluntarily structurally separate or face functional separation under a revision of the Telecommunications Act. This functionally separated Telstra would be prevented from acquiring 4G spectrum and would have to divest itself of its interest in Foxtel.

It's a move that has excited some in the industry and shocked many outsiders. We hear a mix of views on this week's "special edition" of Twisted Wire. There's no doubt that this is good news for the industry, but bad news for Telstra shareholders. A number of questions remain. Is it appropriate or is it too heavy handed? Can Telstra claw back value for its shareholders? Then there's the question of why the Future Fund got rid of so many Telstra shares just before this announcement.

This week:

  • Paul Budde says hanging onto the past doesn't make sense any more;

  • Stuart Wilson, CEO of the Australian Shareholders Association, describes the move as vindictive;

  • Stephen Bartholomeusz from Business Spectator says it goes close to the boundary of what's acceptable for government behaviour;

  • Senator Stephen Conroy says he is correcting 20 years of policy failure;

  • David Kennedy, an analyst at Ovum, considers it's the government's way of getting Telstra to provide its last mile infrastructure to the NBN;

  • Ravi Bhatia, CEO of Primus, says it brings the telco landscape to where it was intended to be 12 years ago;

  • Andrew Sheridan, GM for Regulatory Affairs at Optus, says he hopes Telstra will see that the writing is on the wall and respond to these changes; and

  • Rosemary Howard, former head of Telstra Wholesale, says the big T was going down this road before Sol Trujillo came along.

It's a balanced and comprehensive analysis of the proposed reforms. We report, you decide. Hasn't that been used somewhere before?

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