Optus follows Telstra in network christening

Optus yesterday afternoon revealed that it would re-badge its mobile networks as 'The Open Network' in an effort to position it as "an essential resource" for customers.
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor

Optus yesterday afternoon revealed that it would badge its mobile networks as 'The Open Network' in an effort to position them as "an essential resource" for customers.

The move will allow the SingTel subsidiary to catch up with Telstra's network from a marketing viewpoint. Telstra's network was labelled 'Next G' by the telco's former chief executive Sol Trujillo, whereas Optus has not had a formal name for its competing infrastructure for some time.

Optus' corporate marketing director Michael Smith said that the new label and associated marketing campaign would bring Optus' dual band, 3G single band and 2G mobile networks under one umbrella.

"There has been a seismic shift in how people are using their mobile devices. A mobile network is no longer just technology which allows you to make calls and to send messages," said Smith in a statement. "The explosion of mobile broadband and the rise of smartphones have fuelled people's insatiable appetite to consumer information on the go."

"It is this world of possibilities that makes this the right time to create a standalone brand for our network," said Smith.

Optus will conduct an extensive marketing campaign from Sunday to make Australia aware of the new brand, involving a new television advertisement, as well as outdoor, print and online advertising.

Optus has suffered problems with its mobile network over the past few years, leading to many consumers online using the #badoptus hashtag on Twitter to make their complaints known about patchy coverage and slow speeds in some areas.

However, a report by analyst house IDC published in June purported to show that Optus' 3G mobile broadband was only 4 per cent behind Telstra's Next G network across a range of criteria, despite acknowledging that Telstra's network was on average 60 per cent faster.

In its statement today, Smith said that Optus had invested $2 billion in its mobile network over the past five years, with more than 1000 new mobile sites launched since 2008.

"We're very proud with the work we've done to make the customer experience on our network world-class," the executive said. "We will invest $500 million this financial year to increase both the breadth and depth of our mobile network, improving The Open Network — something which helps our customers get the best possible mobile and mobile broadband experience in regional and metropolitan Australia," said Smith.

There is one essential point of difference which plays into Optus' new label for its network: unlike Telstra, the telco does allow wholesale customers to use its mobile network, making it more open in that sense.

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