Telstra on Thursday held its 2023 financial results call, which, aside from touching on the fact the company made $2.1 billion in profit over the 12-month period, also brought to our attention its plan to improve all ‘key’ processes thanks to artificial intelligence, or, AI, by 2025.
Currently, CEO Vicki Brady said, Telstra has 33 per cent of its key processes super-turbo-charged (my words) with AI. Her words were:
“We continue to partner with technology leaders to help unlock the benefits of a more digitised future for Australia,” she said, pointing to the telco’s partnership with Quantium, which, per the AFR back in 2021, was kicked off to help accelerate Telstra’s use of AI.
Brady said the fruits of that partnership can be seen in the telco’s work around thwarting scams. But it’s not just customer-facing initiatives.
“We’re determined to be a leader in how we apply AI in our business and how we will help our customers transform their business,” Brady continued.
“Within Telstra, we’re already using AI to improve a third of our key processes, including to reduce network energy consumption and solve customer issues faster.
“Our goal is to improve all our key processes with AI by FY25 while maintaining strict principles around how it is used.”
Elsewhere, Brady reaffirmed her company’s commitment to those still using its legacy Bigpond platform for email. Earlier this month, we learned TPG Telecom was getting rid of email accounts linked to internet brands like iiNet, forcing users of email addresses managed by TPG, including tpg.com.au and iinet.net.au, as well as internode.on.net and westnet.com.au, to “opt in” to a new email provider (The Messaging Company – that’s the company name) within six weeks or they lose it.
In response to a question asked by The Guardian, Brady said that although Telstra stopped offering new Bigpond.com email accounts back in 2016, that it’s still a “really engaged” customer base.
“They are very active users of it, which is why we made the decision to actually upgrade and make sure we had the right features and functions to be able to support their needs,” she explained. “It’s absolutely an important part of our broadband service for our customers.”
And last, but not least, and not a surprise considering it’s in the headline, Brady said Telstra has paused work on what was going to be known as Telstra Energy. After years of speculation and rumours, Telstra officially revealed its energy division in June 2022. We originally learned about Telstra Energy back in July 2021, when the telco provided a submission to the Australian Energy Regulator. Later that year, Telstra was given the green light to sell electricity and gas in Victoria. But alas, it is no more…at least for now.
“We built the capability to do energy retailing,” she began. “We’ve made the decision through the course of last year, then in FY24, we won’t scale up our energy retail business in FY24 and that’s really been a decision around needing to make sure we’re prioritising the things that are going to have the biggest impact on customers.”
Those things, she said, include the migration of the telco’s consumer and small business customers into its new digital environment – which, Brady noted, is where Telstra actually built out its energy retailing capability.
“We won’t be scaling it up in FY24, but it is a capability we have built and we will come back and review as we progress further on our digitisation migration of customers,” she said.
For the financial year, Telstra reported a total income of $23.2 billion, which ends up as $2.1 billion in profit. Numbers that are, I’m sure, as unfathomable to you as they are to me.
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