Telstra CEO Andy Penn
Telstra CEO Andy Penn

If there was any remaining doubt that the Australian telecommunications sector is caught in a perfect storm, Telstra CEO Andy Penn removed them at Telstra's annual results briefings, warning of upheaval, disruption and an uncertain future for Australia's most widely held listed company.

There are plenty of elements in the storm that the entire global telecoms industry is facing, but in Australia the federal government-funded National Broadband Network has accelerated the reckoning, ramping up competitive pressures across the entire sector.

But underpinning the changes roiling the industry is the imminent emergence of 5G mobile technology, continuing revenue erosion by over-the-top internet companies (such as Google, Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype) and the commoditisation of bespoke business services as cloud computing increasingly become an inextricable part of telecoms services.