Optus announces wholesale mobile deal with TravelSIM

The newest MVNO on the block in Australia will be wholesaling Optus' mobile network.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus Wholesale has announced that it will be providing its mobile network for the newest entrant in the Australian mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) market, TravelSIM.

Making the announcement at MVNO World Congress in Madrid on Thursday, Optus said TravelSIM has been providing Australian travellers with "affordable international roaming options" for a decade already.

"TravelSIM is a truly successful Australian business, and we're incredibly proud to be helping enable them to expand their services into a market they know well," Optus Wholesale MD Stuart Bird said.

"Optus Wholesale has long been an advocate for competition and value in the Australian market, and we're looking forward to continuing this through new and existing partnerships."

The announcement came almost a year after Optus began wholesaling its 4G network for the next five years to niche MVNO Moose Mobile, which targets the youth market by selling refurbished iPhones and Android phones at low prices and became a carrier by bundling SIM services alongside the handsets.

VP of Sales and Marketing for Optus Wholesale John Castro at the time said the partnership with Moose Mobile showed "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.

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.

Optus in February reported "record" growth of its own mobile customer base, with 127,000 post-paid customers added during the three months to December.

During the same time, it lost 29,000 prepaid customers for a total addition of 98,000 mobile customers for the quarter, which Optus said was due to its "focus on acquiring quality customers".

Optus has yet to make its 4.5G services available to MVNOs, and is planning to launch a 5G fixed-wireless offering at the start of next year.

Optus chief executive officer Allen Lew earlier this month outlined the telco's 5G roadmap during an interview with ZDNet, saying Optus has yet to make a final decision on its technology vendor partner, despite carrying out most of its trials so far with Huawei.

"At this stage, we are in the development of the technology stage, we haven't selected a partner yet. We are working with multiple system integrators, multiple infrastructure providers to provide the showcase," Lew told ZDNet at the opening of Optus' 5G Live showcase in the Gold Coast.

"We haven't finalised who's going to be eventually the one infrastructure provider who will provide 5G for us when we launch a commercial service in January next year."

Lew confirmed Optus is currently working with all five major 5G networking vendors -- Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, and Samsung -- during its trials, and that the telco will make the decision within eight to 12 weeks.

According to Lew, Optus has now finished trials at its HQ in Macquarie Park; its 5G Live centre in the Gold Coast is stage two of its 5G plan, as it will allow the telco to gather data on how consumers interact with and react to the low-latency, high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G and the technologies it enables.

After choosing its infrastructure vendor, the next stage will then be conducting field trials in the second half of 2018 using the homes of Optus employees, Lew revealed to ZDNet, which will be followed by further announcements at the end of the year.

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