Amaysim eyes fibre partnerships with Telstra, Vocus

Amaysim is in discussions with providers to expand its fibre reach across the country, while also planning to connect directly to some of NBN's 121 POIs this year.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Amaysim has announced plans to partner with additional fibre network providers to expand its broadband reach, amid plans of also connecting directly to National Broadband Network (NBN) points of interconnect (POIs) in FY18.

CEO Julian Ogrin told ZDNet that while Amaysim already has partnerships with Optus and TPG, it is also looking to sign on with other network providers.

"We're in discussion with all of the layer 3 operators for backhaul. We currently have a relationship with TPG and Optus, but that doesn't mean we can't talk to Vocus or Telstra or anyone that provides a service," Ogrin told ZDNet.

"There's a number of private networks that are out there in the marketplace that provide specific broadband services, whether it be to multi-dwelling sites and such, and we're in discussion with all of those as well. For us, it's just extending our reach and providing our customer experience over the top of that."

Amaysim said connecting directly to NBN POIs would also provide the company with autonomy, increase its margins, and improve customer experience.

As of June 30, Amaysim had 1,000 NBN subscribers after launching plans in May, with 3,000 as of Monday.

Of the 1,200 NBN orders received by June 30, Amaysim said 45 percent were for the 25/5Mbps speed tier; 34 percent for 100/40Mbps; and 21 percent for 12/1Mbps. According to Ogrin, the uptake of higher speeds than most commonly seen on NBN is because Amaysim puts customers on the speeds they require.

"This is the benefit of us not having a legacy as well -- we are not trying to put people on a product that suits our EBITDA ... there's a lot of finger pointing to the NBN, but the incumbents are quite cleverly putting customers on products they shouldn't be on," he argued.

He did, however, say the connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) pricing structure should allow for higher speeds.

"It's a lot of wasted energy to try and put rules and regulations around what is, to me, an interim pricing strategy in the marketplace," Ogrin told ZDNet.

"I think all the focus should be on how do we get as many Australian households on 100 megs at an affordable price, and then just put all that energy around that. And I think that's all about addressing the wholesale pricing and the CVC charges of the wholesale pricing for NBN, and then I think you'll see the service providers particularly like Amaysim -- we would be very committed to promoting this service."

Ogrin said Amaysim differentiates its NBN service through its promotions, products, and, most importantly, through investment in the software platform of its automated ordering platform acquired through its AU$4 million purchase of AusBBS last year.

This platform has made it possible for Amaysim to achieve the shortest timeframe for connecting customers to the NBN in the industry, he said, with an average of just under six days between receiving an order and activating a customer, and some activations made within an hour.

"[AusBBS] built a purpose-built NBN workflow management system, [whereas] a lot of the incumbents have basically retro-fitted their ADSL order system into an NBN work environment, and NBN is very complex because there are different types of NBN connections into the household," Ogrin explained.

"We've got a workflow management system that can manage whether it's fibre to the home, fibre to the distribution point, whether it's going to be a private fibre network; we can differentiate across all different categories."

Ogrin also announced that the Amaysim Energy brand will be going live in the first half of FY17 after acquiring Click Energy in April.

"We're going to have Amaysim Energy built into our single sign-on platform," he told ZDNet.

"That will be available in the first half of this year, as is Amaysim Devices. So on our single sign-on and single Amaysim platform we're going to have mobile, NBN, electricity, gas, and devices."

For FY17, Amaysim on Monday announced a total net profit of AU$11.5 million, down 7 percent year on year on net revenue of AU$326.7 million, up 29 percent. Statutory earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) were AU$33.8 million, up 35 percent.

Ogrin said the positive result -- which has seen EBITDA increase by 200 percent and subscribers by 50 percent over the last two years -- is due to Amaysim's focus on customer experience, automation programs, and a new sub-based pricing model.

Mobile made AU$278.5 million in revenue, up 10 percent. Mobile subscribers reached 1.074 million, up 11 percent, while average revenue per user (ARPU) was down by 11 percent to AU$22.46 per month.

Ogrin told ZDNet he is "very happy" with Amaysim's continued growth across mobile, attributing it to the provider's decision to not only offer new products to new customers, but to also enable existing customers to switch freely.

According to market research company Kantar, Amaysim held 4.7 percent of the total Australian mobile market as of June 30 -- 6.9 percent of prepaid and 3.5 percent of post-paid -- while the Australian Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) recently reported Amaysim's complaints ratio as only 1 complaint per 10,000 services in operation as of June.

Amaysim's energy business made AU$45.7 million in the two months after acquiring Click, with 165,000 energy subscribers and an ARPU of AU$139.82.

Broadband pulled in AU$2.5 million in revenue during the year, including 10 months of contributions from AusBBS' ADSL, fibre, and telephone offerings and two months of NBN services.

Broadband subscribers totalled 5,000 by the end of June, and 7,000 as of Monday.

Fulfilling its promise to launch NBN plans in May after holding closed trials of the fixed-line broadband service last year, Amaysim launched three plans: AU$60 per month for speeds of 12/1Mbps; AU$70 per month at speeds of 25/5Mbps; and AU$90 per month for speeds of 100/40Mbps, all with unlimited data, no lock-in contracts, no activation fees, no fees for switching between plans, and no termination fees.

Amaysim's hybrid model of fixed-line connectivity involves arrangements with Optus and AAPT -- now owned by TPG -- to gain access to all 121 POIs immediately, while it also rolls out its own direct-to-the-POI network.

"We're rolling the network out in the same pattern as our customer base across the country. That allows us to target the right areas quickly, but at the same time offer the plans across the country," Rob Appel, Amaysim's commercial director, told ZDNet in May.

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