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Optus and Telstra compete on streaming inclusions

Optus is offering greater instances of unmetered streaming, while Telstra throws in more free subscriptions for streaming services in an effort to attract customers.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra and Optus are competing on mobile plan inclusions such as music and TV streaming subscriptions and unmetered data in the hopes of attracting and retaining customers as uptake of streaming services continues.

Optus announced on Tuesday that post-paid My Plan Plus SIM-only customers on AU$35, AU$50, and AU$60 month-to-month plans, and those on 12-month AU$30, AU$40, and AU$50 plans will get access to unmetered music streaming across Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio, as well as unmetered English Premier League streaming, provided they pay the AU$15 a month fee for access to the EPL.

Customers on AU$40, AU$65, AU$85, AU$100, and AU$120 My Plan Plus post-paid services will also receive access to unmetered Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio streaming; unmetered Premier League streaming, which is free for those on the three highest plans; and unmetered mobile TV streaming across Presto and Netflix, provided those on the bottom three tiers pay an additional AU$10 per month, as well as paying the subscription fee to the streaming service being used.

"With Optus' data-free Mobile TV streaming, customers can now stream to their heart's content without the worry of what it means for their next bill," said Tim Cowan, head of Mobile Marketing at Optus.

"With Optus offering more entertainment options to customers than ever before, they will be able to enjoy the best in TV, movies, and music, streamed data-free wherever they may be using [the] Optus mobile network."

Cowan added that unmetered streaming across Netflix and Presto is "just the start" of its mobile TV offerings, with more content to be added over the next few months.

Telstra has also announced new streaming plan inclusions, with all post-paid and prepaid mobile customers to have unmetered access to Apple Music, as well as a free six-month Apple Music subscription, and mobile and broadband customers to be given free and unmetered access to an entire season pass for both NRL and AFL.

In addition, Telstra mobile customers on post-paid plans of AU$95 and above and BYO device plans of AU$70 and above will be given free three-month subscriptions to Netflix, Stan, and Presto.

Claiming that video streaming across mobile is growing by over 30 percent each year and now makes up around two thirds of the data used over its fixed-line network, Telstra said sports content in particular is causing spikes in data usage. For instance, customers streaming the men's Olympic Games basketball match between Australia and the United States took up a quarter of all usage on Telstra's mobile network at the time when it was broadcast live.

Optus and Telstra are also competing on sports content, with Optus acquiring the exclusive Australian broadcast rights to the EPL for the next three seasons, along with 10-year deals with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committee, and a FIFA World Cup broadcasting sub-licence.

Telstra, meanwhile, purchased the broadcast rights for the Australian netball league for the next five years, with plans to live stream every game across mobile devices, as well as two games each week on its video-streaming device the Telstra TV and two on the Nine Network. It also holds the digital rights to the AFL and NRL, while its Telstra TV device, launched last October, enables customers to access catch-up and streaming services SBS On Demand, 9JumpIn, Plus7, Tenplay, ABC iView, BigPond Movies, Stan, Presto, and Netflix.

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. Telstra is also cutting and offshoring hundreds of jobs after announcing in July that it would be rebranding into a technology firm.

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