Optus keeps heat on Telstra with new mobile offers


Optus is the latest competitor looking to keep pressure on Telstra following its recent network outages, with mobile offers aimed at luring customers away.

The telco, owned by Singapore-based Singtel, is offering customers who switch from rival networks and take on a two-year contract with a handset their first month free. The offer is also available to existing Optus customers when adding a new mobile service.

Telstra outage ‘absolutely not acceptable’

Mobile phone data and call interruptions Thursday evening prompt Telstra CEO, Andy Penn to front the media with an apology and a promise of free data. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.

It comes after Vodafone last month offered a similar deal which expired on March 29.

Telstra’s rivals, which both have fewer mobile subscribers, are looking to take advantage of the telco giant’s four network outages in the last two months.

Telstra has traditionally been more expensive than Optus and Vodafone, but has sold itself as having superior coverage.

Telstra has 16.9 million mobile customers, compared with 9.37 million at Optus and 5.44 million at Vodafone Hutchison Australia. 

The new mobile deal comes just two days after Optus announced that it will cut up to 480 jobs as part of a restructure as it looks to trim costs for “sustainable growth.”

Earlier in the week, Telstra signalled that it is prepared to revise its pricing and mobile plan offers to combat other telcos seeking to take their customers,

Optus is looking to capitalise on Telstra's outages. Optus is looking to capitalise on Telstra’s outages. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Asked whether Telstra would consider reviewing its plans in response to its rivals’ moves, chief operations officer Kate McKenzie said the telco was constantly revising its offers.

But she did not detail exactly how the company would react.

The new mobile deal comes just two days after Optus announced that it will cut up to 480 jobs. The new mobile deal comes just two days after Optus announced that it will cut up to 480 jobs. 

“We want to keep on providing value for our customers and we’ll keep looking at that,” she said.

“We’ll keep looking at the competitive responses and we’ll make sure we’ve got really good offers out there that provide value to all of our customers,” Ms McKenzie said.

Last year, Telstra chief executive Andy Penn told Fairfax Media he would be willing to make short-term sacrifices to the telco’s mobile margins in order to pay for better networks that would lead to a longer-term gain.

“Yes, if continuing to perform in the market impacts margins in the short to medium term, well, it’ll impact margins in the short to medium term,” he said.

“People know that Telstra’s network is the best network in Australia and we’re willing to invest to keep it that way … and if that means raising the investment again we’ll do that.” 

Optus will also be hoping to use the English Premier League, for which it will fork out $189 million over three years, as further means of convincing mobile and broadband customers to switch over to their services.

Optus chief executive Allen Lew has signalled that the telco will invest more in securing content to attract customers.