Optus sees higher net profit after job cuts

Profit increases by 33 per cent despite 5 per cent revenue decline

Job cuts contributed to an increase in net profit at Optus in the quarter ending 30 September, despite falling revenue.

The telco increased net profit by 32.6 per cent to $218 million, up from $165 million in the same quarter last year.

While operating revenue declined $120 million (5.4 percent) year-over-year to $2.1 billion, recent job cuts and other cost-saving measures at Optus reduced operating expenses by $202 million.

Staff costs at Optus declined 10.5 per cent to about $250 million, compared to about $279 million in the same quarter last year. On 30 September this year, Optus had 8,683 employees. At the same time last year, it had 9,069.

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Optus attributed the revenue decline to lower breakage and roaming revenues. Optus had launched new plans called My Plan in the quarter aimed at reducing customer bill shock.

“The launch of plans which eliminate breakage fees and roaming charges will encourage customers to confidently use their devices when and where they want,” said Optus chief country officer Kevin Russell.

“The initial signs for My Plan are positive. We saw a strong take-up of new plans and an upswing in data usage amongst early My Plan adopters.”

Optus pointed to a 36 per cent decline in the total number of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) over the last 12 months. The reduction included a 50 per cent decline in the number of TIO complaints about network coverage.

In addition, mobile postpaid retail monthly churn was positive, improving 30 basis points (0.30 percentage points) compared to the same quarter last year, Optus said.

Optus now has 9,495,000 mobile customers, down slightly from 9,553,000 customers in the previous quarter. Optus had nearly 1.4 million of those customers signed up for 4G service.

Optus chief country officer Kevin Russell said the telco continues to work on enhancing its network.

“We’re focused on growing our combined 4G network to reach over 70 per cent of the metro population by April 2014,” he said in a statement.

“With a multi-band 4G strategy that combines low-band 4G frequency for strong coverage with high-band spectrum for increased network capacity, Optus is positioning itself to meet customers’ needs for additional capacity and faster network speeds.”

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