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Optus seeks to lure new customers ahead of iPhone 6 launch

Optus is looking to capitalise on the estimated 1.2 million customers coming out of their contracts, offering up to AU$450 in credit to pay out customer plans and trade in phones.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Optus is looking to win back some of the mobile market share it lost to Telstra with new plans and credit allowances for the estimated 1.2 million customers coming to the end of their existing contracts.

Ahead of the expected iPhone 6 announcement by Apple on Tuesday, Optus has announced that it will offer up to AU$200 credit for customers to pay out their early cancellation fees within 21 days of joining Optus, and up to AU$250 credit for customers trading in an old phone to put towards the purchase of a new phone.

According to a GfK survey, around 1.2 million Australia customers are coming off their contract in the next four months, and Optus is targeting those who may still have some time left on their plans but are keen to sign up for a new phone.

"Customers tell us that one of the main reasons they want to get out of their mobile contract early is to upgrade to a new phone. Early exit fees shouldn't be a barrier to getting that new smartphone now," Optus managing director of customer, Vicki Brady said in a statement.

As Optus rival Vodafone sees a slow down in the number of customers leaving the telco, Optus itself has struggled to gain customers in a tight mobile market. In the last year alone, Optus' subscriber base has fallen 1.3 percent to 9.4 million, while Vodafone now sits at around 5 million, and Telstra sits on over 15 million mobile subscribers.

While Optus' country CEO Paul O'Sullivan has said that the company needs to get away from being focused on customer numbers, parent company SingTel has indicated that the company needs to regain market share.

Optus is also boosting the data on two of its plans, upping the data on the AU$80 per month plan from 3GB to 5GB, and the data on the AU$100 per month plan from 5GB to 8GB.

The launch of the iPhone 6, coupled with a number of customers exiting the previously-common two-year locked contracts for the iPhone 5 in 2012, will provide Optus an opportunity to recapture some of the customers who may have switched to Telstra, but Telstra and Vodafone are also likely to introduce strong deals into the market for the iPhone 6 launch.

Existing customers with Optus also have the option of recontracting with the company should their contract be within three months of completion. Those customers can have the exit fees waived, and get up to AU$250 credit towards the cost of a new phone.

As with Optus' previous trade-in offer, the credit towards the new phone will vary depending on the type of phone and the condition of the phone. The company is currently offering AU$340 credit for the iPhone 5S 16GB, AU$250 credit for the iPhone 5 16GB, and AU$130 for the iPhone 4S 16GB.

The offer will be open from September 8 until November 2.

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