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Optus reports second quarter of customer declines

Optus lost another 64,000 mobile customers in the last three months of 2013, while reporting a 41.4 percent jump in year-on-year profit for the quarter.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Optus lost approximately 64,000 mobile customers in the last three months of 2013, continuing a streak of customers leaving the telco for the second half of the year.

The result means that for the last six months of 2013, Optus shed 102,000 mobile customers, while Telstra picked up 739,000 new services, and Vodafone also lost 606,000 services in the half. Optus reported almost a triple of the customer drop in the last quarter of the year than Vodafone did, 64,000 customers from Optus, compared to 22,000 customers for Vodafone.

Optus said that the reason for the loss was largely due to customers churning from a wholesale customer, and Optus scaling back its mobile broadband offerings ahead of an expected renewed push into the mobile broadband market in 2014.

The company recorded an AU$98 million decline in mobile revenue to AU$1.3 billion for the quarter, which parent company SingTel blamed on a decrease in equipment sales, and a mandated reduction in mobile termination rates from 6 cents to 4.8 cents from the beginning of 2013.

Optus did report a significant jump in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation of 7.7 percent year on year to AU$522 million, on the back of a decline in operating expenses by 6.9 percent to AU$1.9 billion.

"As we have said before, our focus at Optus is on delivering sustainable profit growth and making significant improvements in the experience we deliver for our customers. This quarter has seen great progress in both these areas," Optus CEO Kevin Russell said in a statement.

"Optus will continue to differentiate its brand with new products and services that address real customer pain points, strengthen trust in the brand, and deliver a market-leading experience for our customers."

He said Optus recorded a 50 percent decline in the number of new complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the quarter ending September 30, and the company's net promoter score improved by six points in the last three months of 2013.

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