Optus has announced that it will be wholesaling its 4G network to niche mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Moose Mobile for the next five years.
Moose Mobile said it targets the youth market by selling refurbished iPhones and Android phones at low prices -- pricing the iPhone 6 at AU$369, the iPhone 5s at AU$225, and the iPhone 5c at AU$199 -- and has now become a carrier by bundling SIM services alongside the handsets.
Its month-to-month post-paid services start at AU$15 per month for 1GB of data and max out at AU$49 a month for 25GB of data; by comparison, Optus' SIM-only plans start at AU$30 per month for 1.5GB of data and cap out at AU$70 per month for 20GB of data.
According to VP of Sales and Marketing for Optus Wholesale John Castro, the partnership with Moose Mobile shows "Optus' commitment to diversifying its customer base".
"We are here to deliver mobile services to a range of wholesale partners, particularly companies like Moose," Castro said.
"Refurbished handset sales are set to grow significantly over the next three years, so this represents a sound strategic approach from Moose Mobile."
Moose Mobile said it differentiates itself from other refurbished phone sellers and MVNOs by transforming the one-time sale of a low-cost, second-hand phone into a long-term customer gain.
"The Moose model is about providing quality refurbished devices that are current and inexpensive, bundled with competitive pricing plans on a quality network," Moose Mobile CEO Dean Lwin said.
"Refurbished handsets are popular among first phone users, as they provide parents and younger buyers access to reasonably current Android and non-Android devices at prices well below the cost of a new device."
Moose Mobile is entering the market a time when MVNOs are losing market share, however; market research company Kantar's statistics at the end of last year showed MVNOs dropping customers across every category.
MVNOs were down to holding just 6.4 percent of the total Australian mobile market as of November 2016, with 4.5 percent market share in prepaid, 6.8 percent market share in post-paid, and 9 percent market share in the no-contract segment.
Optus has also been wholesaling its 4G network to Virgin Mobile and Amaysim and its MVNO brands Vaya, Live Connected, and Zen Connect for around two years.
While Optus switched on its 4.5G network with Huawei in Sydney earlier this year, enabling speeds of 1Gbps, it said it has no plans as of yet to offer this faster-speed network to its MVNOs.