Sol-ong, Sol

NOON -- When I interviewed Sol Trujillo, CEO of Australia's incumbent carrier Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) and one of the best known characters in the telecom world, for Light Reading TV in Barcelona recently, I didn't think to ask: "So Sol, are you thinking of quitting?"

I'd have got short shrift if I'd posed that question anyway, I'm pretty certain. He had just been speaking about mobile broadband in Australia and Hong Kong, and was pretty pumped up about that subject. (See MWC 2009: The Need for Speed and MWC 2009: SDR Coup for ZTE.)

But it turns out he's leaving Australia to return to the U.S., and will depart Telstra on June 30 after four years at the helm. The news was announced as the carrier announced its latest financials. (See Trujillo Quits Telstra and Telstra Reports H1.)

Trujillo's time at Telstra has been anything but dull. He has overseen a wide-ranging network transformation, particularly with the deployment of the Next G mobile network, that has put Telstra at the forefront of current 3G service developments. That helped put Trujillo on our "Person of the Year" shortlist in 2008. (See The 2008 Leading Lights Finalists, Telstra CEO: Survival of the Bravest, Telstra Outlines Massive OSS Project, Telstra Unveils Switch to IP, and Telstra CEO Outlines Strategy.)

Consequently, his chairman, Donald McGauchie, heaped praise on Trujillo for that mobile advance. "The Next G network is undeniably the world's best national mobile broadband network and stands as Sol's crowning achievement," stated McGauchie.

Not everything has gone Trujillo's way, though: He had long harbored an ambition to build Australia's next-generation fixed broadband network, too, but that plan has gone awry. (See Telstra Dumped From FTTx Project.)

Now the big question is: What will Trujillo do next? If we find out, we'll let you know.

In the meantime, here's what Sol had to say in Barcelona.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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