Saturday, March 8, 2014

Australia - In need of a new Telco

Ok I know that I might have actually talked about this sometime in the last year or so, but I wanted to talk about it again purely because we have seen the big three telco's wipe out a number of its competitors, albeit third party companies that are Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), basically operators that utilise the big three telco companies networks to provide services to us mere customers.

One of the biggest MVNO's to have closed in the last 12 months was Kogan Mobile, who was basically unable to reach an agreement with Telstra after the big telco's wholesaler, ISPOne, went into administration after legal court case was started by Telstra relating to underpayment of accounts and bills.

We have also seen smaller MVNO's merge with other providers to leverage for better deals against the big telco's, which have resulted in some good deals being passed on to the end consumer, only to be later changed, terminated or in most cases, price hikes because of agreement terms for services changing between the big telco's and their MVNO counterparts.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak. There has also been a very slow yet rapid case of the big telco's cutting data allowance which is growing exponentially year on year. For example Boost pre-paid used to offer 3GB data on their $40 UNLTD pre-paid plan, but as of last month, that was cut to 2GB data. Telstra plans have slowly been cutting their data from their existing plans, whilst price increases continue to also come into the foray.

So the question to me remains, why do we as Australian's allow this happen?

The now former head of Optus in Australia, Kevin Russell, late last year at a conference said that the Telecommunications industry is in Australia has become a joke which sadly has meant that customer satisfaction is now at an all time low whilst the telecom companies continually gouge customers.

Before he left Optus last month, he had implemented a turn around for the nations 2nd biggest telco company through its My Plan consumer mobile plans, which are aimed at helping customers take the worry out of bill shock and personally I can see some value in this and hope that the other 2 major telco's will consider moving to this type of thinking, but I hold my doubts.

And its these doubts that fuels the idea for me at least, as to why we need more competition from another telco who is willing to build their own infrastructure to take on Optus, Vodafail and Telstra.

So which company would I like to see come to Australia, well there are a number, but the best would be between either Telefonica or T Mobile.

Why would I choose these companies?

Simply put I feel that they have the muscle needed to bring real competition into a marketplace where mobile growth is continually growing, but lack of real competition and innovation has stymied this growth as customers just feel they are trapped. I should know I am one of them.

But I would like to also see and hopefully think that two other Australian companies could build their own infrastructure and bring this needed competition to the marketplace. The two companies I am referring to are TPG and iiNet. For me, they offer some sort of real value, platform and if not the manpower but customer numbers to show that they could be a force to reckon with.

However I doubt this will ultimately happen as we see that the big 3 rather continue their strangle hold on the marketplace and consumers, continual gouge customers and really not bring any value to a market who is crying out for change.

But I can hope that change will come...........eventually.

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