iPhone: Optus chief clams up

Optus chief executive PaulO'Sullivan today declined to give any details on how the carrier's Australian success with Apple's iPhone handset was likely to affect the company's mobile data usage statistics or revenues.

Optus chief executive Paul O'Sullivan today declined to give any details on how the carrier's Australian success with Apple's iPhone handset was likely to affect the company's mobile data usage statistics or revenues.

Paul O'Sullivan, Optus CEO
(Credit: Optus)

The iPhone had racked up one million global sales only a few days after its worldwide launch. A week after the handset made its debut, there was still a line outside the Apple store in Sydney of those wanting an Optus iPhone, which suggested the carrier was making its fair share of the sales.

However, at its regular results briefing today, the company wasn't ready to scream its sales numbers from the rooftops. "We've deliberately chosen not to go into too much detail about the iPhone," O'Sullivan told reporters.

The comment came despite Optus director of government and corporate affairs Maha Krishnapillai crowing about sales of the device a week after the launch. "We're very happy with the result for Optus — we think we've captured by far the lion's share of the iPhone sales because we do have the best pricing models," he said at the time.

When pressed to give some indication of Optus' success with the device, O'Sullivan said that of those customers who went to the Apple store to buy their iPhone (where all three carriers had sign-up facilities), over half, maybe even over two-thirds of customers chose Optus.

O'Sullivan put this down to mobile data users. He said the other carriers had let themselves become shoehorned into the traditional voice plan model where users are penalised for heavy usage, while Optus saw the data opportunity.

Telstra may have also realised the importance of mobile data, if belatedly, as it revamped its Next G data pack pricing last month, reducing the cost of downloading on the iPhone.

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