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Telstra profit lifts 10 per cent

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Telstra has lifted its dividend for the first time in eight years after announcing a $1.7 billion profit.

The telco’s net profit grew more than nine per cent to $1.7 billion in the six months to December 31, up from $1.56 billion in the same period the previous year.

Telstra attracted 739,000 new mobile customers, bringing its total number of mobile customers to 15.8 million.

The telco also lifted its dividend to shareholders for the first time since 2006.

The interim fully-franked dividend was increased by 0.5 cents to 14.5 cents.

Chief executive officer David Thodey said Telstra’s first half customer, profit and revenue growth showed its investment in its core business was creating value for shareholders.

He said its investment in ensuring its mobile network covered as much of Australia as possible had resulted in an increase in mobile customers during the half.

“Our customers remain our highest priority and our focus during the past six months has been to continue to improve the way we interact with them every day, as well as provide them with access to the best networks in Australia to help them connect, no matter where they work and live. More Australians are choosing to connect and stay with Telstra every day,” he said.

The company said it was on track to deliver low single digit earnings growth for the year.

Telstra’s 4G network now reached 85 per cent coverage of the Australian population and had 4.1 million customers.

Mr Thodey said Telstra had started negotiations with NBN Co and the government on potential changes to the NBN rollout.

“We are committed to acting in the best interests of our shareholders, and are focused on maintaining the value of the current agreements, achieving certainty of outcome as soon as reasonably possible and minimising any additional regulatory risk,” he said.

At 1039 Telstra shares were up five cents, or 0.98 per cent, to $5.16.

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