Telstra’s Asian strategy

Giant Telco, Telstra Corporation (ASX: TLS) has highlighted expansion into Asia as one of the company’s strategic priorities.

According to the Australian Financial Review (AFR), Telstra plans to target big corporate customers expanding into Asia. With the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) signalling it will block moves by the telco to expand its Australian media business, the company’s move into other markets and its cloud computing business are becoming increasingly important.

Telstra is reported to have considered a bid for Consolidated Media Holdings (ASX: CMJ) but the ACCC kyboshed the deal, most likely because it would have taken Telstra’s  stake in Foxtel to 75%, and a 50% share in Fox Sports. Telstra already owns one of the nation’s largest media portfolios, with its existing 50% stake in Foxtel, Yellow and White Pages and a suite of BigPond websites and products. The portfolio is estimated to be worth up to $5 billion, according to the AFR.

News Corporation (ASX: NWS) looks set to takeover Cons Media, after getting the green light from the ACCC recently, giving it a 50% share in Foxtel, with Telstra holding the other 50%. The ACCC’s decision to block Kerry Stokes’ Seven Group Holdings (ASX: SVW) bid for Cons Media, also indirectly prevents Telstra from expanding into free-to-air television.

Telstra also faces some additional risk to its chances of receiving payments of $11 billion from NBN Co, as part of its agreement to lease infrastructure to NBN Co and gradually move its customers off its ageing copper network onto the high-speed optical fibre National Broadband Network. Should the Coalition gain power at the next Federal election, those agreements may be in jeopardy, with the party planning to scale back the NBN, which would likely result in lower payments to Telstra.

Still, Telstra’s mobile division is powering ahead, and appears to be stealing market share from Optus and Vodafone. Its superfast 4G network has no peers in Australia, with Optus only just now rolling out 4G services in one or two capital cities and just to business customers, while Vodafone won’t have a 4G network ready until 2013.

Foolish takeaway

Combine the results of its mobile operations with its other businesses, potentially higher dividends in future, and its expansion plans and Telstra certainly looks worthy of adding to your watchlist.

If you only invest in one company this year, make it our “Top Stock for 2012-13”. Operating in two hot markets — one set to double by 2012, the other predicted to grow 5x over the next five years — this stock is a solid growth play that also boasts strong recurring revenue, zero debt, and lots of cash. Get its name and full research case in this brand-new FREE report.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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