Optus offering free EPL subscriptions for customers

Eligible mobile and home broadband Optus customers can get the 2016-17 EPL season for free if they sign up prior to August.

Optus mobile and broadband customers can now purchase English Premier League (EPL) subscriptions, with the telecommunications carrier offering the 2016-17 season for free for those who sign up by July 31.

New and existing customers on eligible post-paid, SIM-only, mobile broadband, and home broadband plans can sign up from Monday, but will be charged from July 2017 for the 2017-18 season.

Those who sign up after July 31, 2016, will also be charged AU$15 per month for the coming season on plans valued at less than AU$85 per month.

Optus' newly minted managing director of Marketing and Product for its Consumer division, Ben White, marked his first week in the job with the announcement of the free offering.

"Optus has a track record of offering customers great-value plans, packed with data and generous call inclusions, at affordable prices," White said.

"Today, we're shaking up the market even more by offering our customers more of the content they love. From data-free prepaid music streaming to the Premier League, Optus is changing people's expectations of their telco provider."

Optus will also enable customers on competitors' fixed broadband networks to stream the EPL to their TVs -- as long as they are Optus mobile customers and pay an additional AU$5 per month for the Yes TV by Fetch Mini device, which will be made available in July.

"We understand that some customers either can't or don't want to change their broadband providers, but still want the Premier League," White added.

"The mini device is a great alternative, because it works on any fixed internet service in Australia and gives fans access to the Premier League live and on demand via the big screen."

Optus is set to announce satellite plans in July for those living in regions where fixed broadband is not of a high enough quality to stream EPL games.

White's promotion to the consumer role, which includes responsibility for Optus' TV and entertainment services, was announced on Friday, with CEO Allen Lew calling it a step towards ensuring the company is "well-placed to lead the next phase of our transformation, starting with the launch of the English Premier League".

In his new role, White will also have control over Optus' mobile and fixed products, brand and communications, analytics and insights, "innovation", and the Virgin Mobile and Vividwireless brands.

Optus in April announced a series of redundancies allowing a "reshape" of its workforce amid its transformation into a multimedia company rather than a pure telecommunications carrier. The transformation was kicked off by its acquisition in November of the exclusive Australian broadcast rights to the EPL for the next three seasons.

Optus has said it will be broadcasting the EPL across its Yes TV platform on a 24/7 channel via the Fetch set-top box and the Apple TV, as well as through apps, a website, and a satellite service for more remote viewers.

"We're creating a point of difference to our competitors ... we have evolved into a mobile-led entertainment brand," Lew said during Optus' financial results call last month.

"It will be on Apple TV. We have signed that agreement, and it will be available on Apple TV by the time the first game of the season comes on in August.

"If you already have an Apple TV set-top box, or if you are already accessing entertainment through an internet portal or a mobile app, you don't need to buy a [Fetch TV] set-top box."

As part of its media bid, Optus also announced 10-year deals with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committee, and a FIFA World Cup broadcasting sub-licence.

Optus' consumer business reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of AU$2.46 billion for FY15, up 6.1 percent year on year from AU$2.32 billion, on operating revenue of AU$7.53 billion, up 4.2 percent.