Problems at Telstra have sent business commentators into a flurry of speculation today. The Herald Sun ’s Terry McCrann says Telstra’s third-quarter market update will be Ziggy Switkowski’s swansong and that he should be more than satisfied with the numbers and the “scintillating” state of the company. In The Age,Stephen Bartholomeusz questions whether the slowdown in what had been a healthy growth rate is unique to the company? The Fin ’s Tony Boyd says Telstra’s less-than-impressive sales figures highlight a trend that’s been affecting Telstra for many years as fixed line customers migrate to mobile phones. And Chanticleer John Durie says Telstra is losing its core standard phone revenue much faster than previously thought – highlighting the problems which will be faced by the new boss once Ziggy leaves.

The Fin also reports that the federal government is considering a proposal that would boost household usage of internet telephony in a move that would present another potential challenge for Telstra. The SMHreports that the French have had a very successful experience with mobile internet service i-mode. Within two years they have signed up a million subscribers wiped WAP services off the map was more popular than its 3G competitors, Vodafone and Hutchison.

Fairfaxalso reports that former NAB chief executive Frank Cicutto is to return from the corporate wilderness. Cicutto and Paul Villanti, the former managing director of Pracom, will head a consortium named Run Property that has held secret discussions with most of the big real estate firms.

And on Wall Street the Dow and the S&P 500 yesterday sank to a six-month low, reports Reuters.

Peter Fray

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