Telstra reports increased revenue, profit and customers

Telstra's profit has met expectations, but it warns of "significant costs" related to mobile spectrum renewal this year.

The telecommunications giant says its first-half net profit after tax rose 8.8 per cent to $1.6 billion, based on a 1.7 per cent increase in total income to $12.7 billion.

That met analyst expectations, with those surveyed by Bloomberg generally expecting a $1.6 billion net profit result.

Telstra says it added 607,000 new domestic mobile services in the six months to December 31, bringing the number of mobile services it provides to 14.4 million.

That resulted in a 4.6 per cent rise in mobile revenue to $4.56 billion.

However, Telstra says it also spent a considerable amount of money maintaining and improving its mobile technology, with $1.9 billion spent on capital works across its business.

"Our investment in the mobile network is attracting more customers," noted the company's chief executive, David Thodey, in a statement.

"We have now sold 1.5 million 4G devices, and we are on track to expand 4G coverage to 66 per cent of the Australian population by June 2013." It has also flagged the costs of renewing licences for mobile spectrum with the Federal Government this year.

"The company will incur significant costs in fiscal year 2013 for the renewal of existing spectrum licences," the company noted in its directors' report.

"There are also auctions for new spectrum licences planned for the second half of fiscal 2013." However, Telstra has also received payments from the Federal Government for its role in the National Broadband Network totalling $176 million for the half.

The company also made $381 million in cost savings during the half, with some of its call centres closing as more customers use online self-service.

Excluding spectrum cost and any unexpected items, Telstra is expecting to have low single-digit growth in revenue and pre-tax earnings for the rest of the financial year, and has committed to maintaining its full-franked dividend of 14 cents per half this financial year.

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