Home Your IT Mobility Kogan claims victory - what does this mean to end users?

In the absence of a copy of the judgement here is what we think it means.

ispONE, a Telstra Network reseller/wholesaler (not a part of Telstra in any other way) entered into a business deal with Kogan Mobile to allow it to market a low cost 'unlimited' (dangerous term) pre-paid voice and a limited data service. It was cheap - of course it sold well, perhaps too much so.

ispONE administered the scheme and then suspended approx. 600 customers that it deemed to be overusing the service. It obviously felt it was justified in doing so.

Kogan Mobile was aggrieved. "Reputation" it shouted and as the matter could not apparently be settled amicably it ended in court in April, Kogan alleging ispONE had breached the master wholesale agreement.

ispONE countered that Kogan Mobile was engaged in "misleading and deceptive conduct" by calling the plan "unlimited", when there were stringent and enforceable conditions placed on it under the company's acceptable use policy.

Kogan Mobile is claiming victory after three days in court this week and has stated that ispONE will be prevented from suspending more customers without its permission. But there is the kicker - such permission usually cannot be unreasonably or unconscionably withheld and we don't know if the court felt Kogan Mobile was engaged in 'misleading and deceptive conduct' or not. Too many issues are not clear enough to comment further without the judgement. We sincerely hope it is all cleared up then.

Opinion

The outcome is that Kogan Mobile gets a truck load of publicity that advertising cannot buy - good luck to it. After Kogan's previous media stunts we believe he belongs to the old school - 'any publicity is good publicity'. ispONE does not sell to the public so reputation there is not so much of a concern but its reputation as an ethical wholesale supplier is.

Sadly after any supplier is taken to court the relationship cannot help but sour and ispONE would be within its right to act within the strict letter of the law - more terminations could happen and as this is a prepaid plan the whole thing can be dismantled pretty easily. On the plus side for the present end users have a prepaid service. At worst notice will be given sometime in the future and at the expiry of same its all over.

Kogan will then have to find another supplier who may or may not meet the present plan prices - we suspect that may be hard to do.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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