Southern Phone is the third largest provider of fixed line services (after Telstra and Optus) and the fourth largest mobile phone provider (after Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) in regional Australia. (Research by Review Partners 2012).
Southern Phone was formed in 2002 to deliver more affordable telecommunications services to the community and now serves a national customer base, from Cape York to Zeehan in Tasmania, from Bega to Broome.
The company was funded by the federal government using money raised from the sale of Telstra to improve telecommunications services in regional Australia. That seed funding finished in 2004 and since then we have operated successfully and profitably, with all profits returned to the community.
Shares in the Southern Phone Company can only be held by local councils. This is the way we return profits to each community.
The cost of telecommunications in regional Australia has long been a source of concern and discussion.
The lack of competition in regional areas has meant prices and other aspects of service delivery have not met the expectations of the community to the extent realised in metropolitan areas.
The local councils behind the development of Southern Phone realised that while generally good services are available it would only be the introduction of competition in many smaller centres that would deliver lower pricing and other service improvements.
Southern Phone values
Southern Phone operates to maximise benefits to the community. It reflects the values, ethics and style of the people living in the country and presents those to the customer.
Southern Phone only pursues profits to the extent they are required for company sustainability, service expansion and a return to shareholding councils. Otherwise prices are maintained at the lowest possible level to ensure maximum community benefit.
Who owns Southern Phone?
Southern Phone is an unlisted Public Company (A.C.N. 100 901 184) and only local councils can be shareholders. This means all profits are returned to the community through the councils. Because it is a local government-owned enterprise, Southern Phone is a State/Territory Body (STB) pursuant to Section 24AM of the ITAA 1936. No individuals may own shares in the Company.
Benefits are channeled to the community by the maintenance of low cost services and the delivery of all dividends to shareholding councils on behalf of their communities.
The Local Councils that currently hold shares in Southern Phone Company are:
- The Hills Council
- Bega Valley Shire Council
- Bellingen Shire Council
- Bland Shire Council
- Bombala Council
- Boorowa Council
- Cabonne Shire Council
- Camden Council
- Campbelltown City Council
- Carrathool Shire Council
- Coffs Harbour City Council
- Corowa Shire Council
- Cooma-Monaro Shire Council
- Cootamundra Shire Council
- Dungog Shire Council
- Eurobodalla Shire Council
- Gilgandra Shire Council
- Goulburn Mulwarree Council
- Gunnedah Shire Council
- Harden Shire Council
- Hawkesbury City Council
- Kiama Council
- Murray Shire Council
- Narrandera Shire Council
- Narromine Shire Council
- Orange City Council
- Palerang Council
- Queanbeyan City Council
- Randwick City Council
- Shellharbour City Council
- Shoalhaven City Council
- Snowy River Shire Council
- Tumbarumba Shire Council
- Tumut Shire Council
- Upper Lachlan Council
- Warrumbungle Shire Council
- Weddin Shire Council
- Wingecarribee Shire Council
- Wollongong City Council
- Yass Valley Council
- Young Shire Council
Southern Phone is a regional company. The headquarters and principal place of business is in the regional centre of Moruya in the Eurobodalla Shire on the NSW south coast.
Southern Phone Board of Directors
A Board of seven Directors manages the operations of the company. The Board is accountable to the shareholders through the Annual General Meeting and through General Meetings that may occasionally be called under the terms of the Company Constitution.
The Directors of Southern Phone are:
Bill Hilzinger (Chairman), previously Chairman of Integral Energy and the Superannuation Services Corporation.
Nigel Hennessy, Chairman, CleanTech Business Accelerator Pty Ltd, Director, Hearnshaw & Partners Pty Ltd.
Mark Warren, Managing Director, Southern Phone Company.
Brian Johns, Chairman of the Copyright Agency Limited. Director, Melbourne University Press, previously Managing Director, ABC, CEO of SBS and Publishing Director of Penguin Books.
Holly Kramer, CEO, Best & Less, previously Telstra Group Managing Director, Product Management and Telstra Chief of Marketing for both consumer and retail divisions.
Rod Oxley, PSM, previously Chairman ahm (a private health insurer).
Andrew Riley, Managing Director, EW Systems Pty Ltd, Director of APIR Systems Pty Ltd.