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Optus Love Affair With Woolies Ends

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 02/10/2013

Optus cut ties with Woolworths Mobile

From this week, customers can no longer buy Optus $2 pre-paid SIMs at Woolies, a rep confirmed. However, Woolworths Mobile customers will still be able to recharge their prepaid services for the foreseeable future.

The move is part of Optus' retail rationalisation strategy, announced earlier this year, when it ditched prepay operator Boost Mobile.

"We've made a few third party exits", an Optus spokesperson told CN.

When asked about other possible 'exits' the rep said: "we are still in the process of working through our distribution strategy".

Australia's telco No. 2 wants all retail channels integrated, with the same information available online, at call centres and instore.

The devil's in the detail

Optus wants "better control of retail operations - from providing better training, and customers service. Its more difficult to work with 3rd party retailers, with different owners."

The telco's poor customer service has been a major issue for its customers. A 2011-12 telco ombudsman report showed complaints about Optus soared 50%.

However, the spokesperson did not speculate whether footfall, or sales has increased since Optus Yes stores have been jazzed up, and ties cut with non-Optus entities.

"Consumers are shopping differently - they research online and buy instore. But as channels get more integrated, they may choose to buy differently", the spokesperson said.

However, the MNOV model is not "necessarily dead, there is a place for it...but it needs to be sustainable".

Recently, Kogan Mobile's third party mobile supplier, ISPOne, went bust. Kogan Mobile plans promised "unlimited" plans, but was forced to end service in August.

A Woolworths spokesperson said: "We are currently reviewing our options to ensure we can continue to offer a great value pre-paid service to our customers.

"For the next 12 months, existing Woolworths Mobile customers will not be impacted by this change and can continue to use Woolworths Mobile, with all the same benefits, features and inclusions."

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