Optus mobile revenue expected to fall, despite boost in numbers
The rights to English Premier League soccer delivered 107,000 new customers to Optus in the three months to September 30.
Overall, Optus’ mobile revenue fell 7 per cent in the period, with regulated price cuts to the amount telcos pay each other to connect mobile calls between networks costing it about $186 million, it said on Thursday.
And parent Singapore Telecommunications has warned that Optus’s mobile service revenue is expected to decline by “mid teens” for the full financial year to March 31.
Optus’ mobile customer numbers had fallen to 9.33 million in June, from 9.35 million in September last year. But they jumped to 9.42 million in the three months to September 30.
It added 107,000 mobile customers in the quarter, including customers who moved from one of its wholesale partners such as Amaysim and Virgin Mobile to the Optus brand.
Optus attributed the gain to the launch of its sports channels with the EPL. It paid $150 million over three years for the digital rights to the EPL, which is available only to customers on post-paid plans. The start of the season reversed a decline in Optus’ post-paid customer numbers.
“These … results reflect Optus’ efforts to drive customer growth through differentiated content. Optus has successfully deepened its engagement with customers [and] achieved a record quarter of customer growth for our branded mobile business, and strong demand for Optus’ unique entertainment content,” Optus chief executive Allen Lew said in a statement.
Investing in the English soccer is part of a three-year strategy, according to Mr Lew.
“If you look at where we are today and where we thought we would be when we did our business plan, we are exceeding our target in the business plan,” he told journalists.
There is currently strong competitive pressures in the Australian mobile market, particularly in pre-paid offers. Some mobile virtual network operators [MVNOs], such as Vaya, are luring customers with deals like three gigabytes of data for $26 a month. Vaya is a subsidiary of Amaysim, which pays to use the Optus network.
Getting exclusive content would differentiate Optus from these cut-price competitors, Mr Lew said.
“We certainly believe that the Optus brand needs to go beyond just basic coverage, price and data allowances.”
He batted away concerns Optus might be losing fixed-line customers to TPG on NBN sales, saying fixed-line products were mostly used as a value-add in mobile packages.
Revenue from mobile products fell to $2.5 billion for the six months to September 30, from $3 billion in 2015. Financial performance was “affected by moderating growth from heightened competition in the Australian mobile market”, the company said.
The story Optus mobile revenue expected to fall, despite boost in numbers first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.