Optus needs to boost customer numbers: SingTel

Optus needs to boost customer numbers: SingTel

Summary: Despite acting CEO Paul O'Sullivan yesterday talking down Optus' customer numbers, parent company SingTel has told investors it is critical for Optus to regain market share.


Optus needs to boost its mobile and fixed customer base, parent company SingTel has told investors, despite acting Optus CEO Paul O'Sullivan talking down customer numbers yesterday.

The number two mobile telco was best placed to pick up a number of ex-Vodafone customers that have left over the past few years, but instead most of those customers have flocked to Telstra, and in the 12 months between March 2013 and March 2014, Optus shed 160,000 mobile subscribers.

To combat the trend, and to win over new customers, Optus yesterday announced new data sharing plans, and SIM-only plans with no contract lock-in with generous data limits, but O'Sullivan told journalists that it wasn't about winning over new customers, but long-term profitability and brand loyalty.

"Let's get away from reporting customer numbers," he said.

But SingTel has customer numbers in mind, telling investors that customer numbers were important.

"In Australia, we have the added challenge of needing to regain trading momentum and market share in mobile and fixed," SingTel told investors.

Slides from the presentation note that between June 2012 and March 2014, Vodafone's market share had slid from 22.6 percent to 17.3 percent, the Optus market share slid from 31.5 percent to 30.5 percent, while Telstra's market share increased from 45.9 percent to 52.2 percent.

It was much the same in fixed broadband, where Optus market share went from 17.9 percent to 16.2 percent, while Telstra's went from 45.9 percent to 46.8 percent.

The company said that in Singapore and Australia there was a need to monetise data, and some of the plans in place include pre-paid 4G, data sharing, tiered data plans, and Wi-Fi usage. Optus yesterday also talked down speculation about launching Wi-Fi networks in Australia, but O'Sullivan highlighted the company's strong spectrum holdings from its acquisition of fixed wireless company Vividwireless.

Through access to 1,000 tower sites from its joint venture with Vodafone, and through the upgrades or new towers in 2,500 other locations, Optus also revealed to investors it plans to have its 4G network covering 90 percent of metropolitan locations by March 2015.

Optus said it also plans to double its marketing effort in Australia by 2015.

Topics: Mobility, Telcos, Optus, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Generous data limits?

    I realise it's Optus words and not your own, but the new sim only plans DO NOT have "generous" data limits.

    For $65 Optus offers unlimited calls and 2Gb of data, with each 800mb costing an extra $10 (thats what the optus website says)

    For $65 Vodafone offers unlimited calls and 5Gb of data.

    Go up to $85 and Vodafone will give you 10Gb of data.

    So "generous" is a bit of a loaded term - when compared to what? If your comparing it to Telstra then maybe it is generous, but you aren't aiming very high to beat telstra on price.
    • Oops

      I can't edit my post on this site so it looks like i may have been looking at an old version of the optus site.

      The new plans are supposed to be $60 for unlimited calls and 5Gb of data. It's dissappointing there isn't a level above that though (like there is for the phone + contract plans)

      It's very easy to chew through more than 5Gb on a smartphone these days.
  • Market share.

    Perhaps Optus should follow the Telstra and Apple model and convince its own fanbois that an Optus sticker on a phone is like a diamond ring?
  • Optus today

    I am not so sure, this sounds like more of Kevin Russell. What caused 8 quarters of negative growth that now needs to be reversed
    I read that Paul wants to pick up 25% of Telstra's base, 160,000 negative services last year and Optus wants to take 4 million odd services from Telstra? This sounds fanciful.
    Optus now buying space off Vodafone?
    To allow for the massive mooted increase in numbers will Optus have to reemploy the thousands of staff members they sacked over the past two years?
    Should management beheld accountable?
    David Boyd
  • Management is leaving to avoid the accountability

    Years ago when they announced the joint venture with vodafone, 99% of the people in the forum had their jaws drop. Questions were asked but the networks MD at the time kept trying to sugarcoat it and avoid the real question. This joint venture helps vodafone and vodafone only. Kevin R was known to be good friends with the vodafone CEO. Now we have so much management and directors jumping ship or changing roles in order to avoid the blame and accountability of the direction Optus has headed and the workplace culture of fear and bullying they have built!!