Thursday, 13 February 2014 13:06

Optus customer decline hidden in the small print Featured

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Optus profitability is up, but revenues are down. But what its financial data did not say was that mobile subscriber numbers are down significantly.

Optus did not mention subscriber numbers – for obvious reasons. Total mobile subscriptions are down from 9.495 million to 9.431 million – a drop of 64,000. That follows a similar drop the previous quarter, and it is three times as many as Vodafone lost last quarter. Vodafone – which is supposed to be on the ropes.

4G numbers are up, from 1.377 million to 1,806 million. But the overall drop means that many Optus 3G customers are switching to Telstra or Vodafone when moving to 4G.

The numbers are hidden on page 48 of SingTel Group’s consolidated financial data. Such a shame Optus was not able to tell us more openly. But then neither does Vodafone. Testra shouts it from the rooftops.

The bottom line is that Telstra is doing great, Vodafone has arrested its decline, and Optus … is not doing that well. It should have been well positioned to benefit from Vodafone’s decline in the last two years, but it seems Telstra has been the big winner.

Optus, like Vodafone, is predicting a turnaround. At least it is making money, but when will its mobile numbers pick up?


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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