Home Your IT Mobility Kogan Mobile goes Nogan Nobile - Analysis
Kogan Mobile becomes Nogan Nobile - but for long? Kogan Mobile becomes Nogan Nobile - but for long? Featured

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Kogan Mobile - the service - is shutting, with recharges and new activations ceasing within 24 hours, and Optus is pouncing, but there’s plenty of time to port your number, weeks to use remaining credit and a refund of unused credit for those on longer plans – and perhaps a future revival?

Kogan Mobile has just received an engaged signal from both ispONE, Telstra’s former and only third-party 2G/3G voice and data supplier, after having just gone into administration, and Telstra itself, with whom Kogan was unable to do a last minute face-saving deal.

That’s unlike Aldi, whose tech arm Medion was able to do a direct deal with Telstra, no doubt thanks to its much larger “physical store” retail market power and popularity with customers.

Kogan Mobile isn’t leaving its customers in the lurch, however, having ensured that its customers have 180 days to port their number across to any other provider they desire, along with several weeks of service for those with existing credit on 3 month and 365 day plans – as is explained in full in a posting at its website here.

When the service does end, there will be two SMS messages from Telstra, the first at least a couple of weeks or more before a second message informing you there are 7 days before Telstra’s service to Kogan Mobile SIM cards is disconnected.

If that happens, or you port to a different service before hand yet are on an extended pre-paid plan, Kogan Mobile promises to refund the unused portion of your pre-paid payment, while promising unspecified deals to come with “mobile phone providers”.

That statement is sufficiently vague that it might represent a deal with a different mobile network, rather than special deals on mobile phones of the variety that Kogan’s Kogan.com electronics, appliances and gadgetry hyper-emporium already offers.

It has also been rapidly answered by Optus Mobile, which has pounced and gone for the jugular like Telstra has by offering a special deal its purports is “providing certainty for people who are unclear about their current mobile service with Kogan and Aldi, with a limited time offer for those who bring their number to Optus.

Optus said in a statement that, from now until the 30th of September, this “limited time offer” for signing up to “Optus Prepaid Social 4G” will see that “on your first three recharges of $30 or more”, Optus says it will “give you double the data and double the standard talk in Australia.”

Kogan Mobile says it is “devastated” and “extremely upset to have to bring you this news”, and that it was “well on the way to achieving” the goal of making “mobile services in Australia more affordable for all”.

Unfortunately, Telstra’s wholesale customer, and Kogan’s supplier, ispONE, just wasn’t up to the task of MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) management, with Kogan Mobile the casualty in the mobile customer acquisition, retention and profit wars.

Given the Optus attack, it remains to be seen as to whether Optus is willing to do a future deal with an Optus-powered Kogan Mobile network, in competition with Amaysim, TPG, Woolworths, the Optus-owned Virgin Mobile and others.

A Vodafone-powered MVNO is also a possibility.

The only Telstra-powered alternatives now beyond Telstra’s own pre and post-paid offerings for consumers and ABN holders/businesses are those from Aldi and Boost.

Boost offers the entire Next G network up to 42.2 Mbps on DC-HSPA+ devices and all 2G/3G/Next G towers, but no 4G service, at Amaysim-like prices but with 3GB of Telstra Next G data instead of Amaysim’s 4GB of Optus 3G data.

Aldi is yet to reveal any changes to its plans, but on the assumption they remain the same, it will be an even better offering now that it is provided to Aldi by Telstra directly, rather than an unstable third-party wholesaler which ended up falling over.

So, whether Ruslan Kogan and the Kogan electronics empire ever ventures forth back into the world of voice and data delivery is yet to be seen, as is that future telco partner, but surely chances are high that Ruslan Kogan hasn't quite given up on his affordable mobile network ambitions just yet.    

Kogan’s statement and detailed explanation of when notices will be given of when services will expire alongside an explanation of the situation at hand can be read in full at Kogan’s site here.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.