• Operates its own Open network, which covers 97% of the Australian population
• Second largest network in Australia, behind Telstra
• Operates on the 2100MHz band
Optus is the second biggest mobile network provider in Australia, with 9.23 million customers. On offer are a wide range of prepaid and cap plans, on a SIM only basis or with a mobile phone. While the network coverage is not as wide as Telstra and may not always reach rural areas, Optus usually offers better value compared to its bigger rival.
Innovative features and extra content such as MyTV keeps them ahead of the pack in a competitive mobile market, making them the popular choice for those who seek value over rural coverage.
• 3G dual band, 3G single band and 2G services across most of Australia
• 30-day satisfaction guarantee – if your coverage isn't up to scratch, they will offer to cancel your contract without penalties
• On cap plans with included data, customers receive unlimited mobile access within Australia to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ebay and Foursquare
• Network coverage is not as comprehensive as Telstra
Optus started as a Government-owned satellite communications company, AUSSAT. When the Government deregulated the telecommunications industry in Australia, the company was formed by a consortium of telecommunications groups.A general carrier licence was issued in 1991.
Optus began competing with incumbent telecoms provider Telstra, initially on long distance calls, then on mobile phone calls in 1993 with the launch of a GSM network. Next, Optus moved built the infrastructure for cable and started offering content with their pay TV network However, the venture, combined with rapid expansion in all directions, led to massive losses for the company and Optus came close to failing.
In 2001, Singapore conglomerate SingTel became the parent company, which signalled a turning point. Since the buyout, Optus has bounced back to profit. In recent years, they have focused on the mobile market and has grown strongly as a result. According to Optus executives, this strategy is down to a level playing field in the mobile sector, where the telco can successfully compete for customers. Optus has lobbied for a level playing field in the fixed-line sector, and has been a strong supporter of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Total mobile revenue for the financial year 2010/2011 was $5.97 billion, while total mobile customers grew to 9.23 million. This compares to Telstra's mobile revenue of $8.1 billion for the year and 9.6 million mobile customers. VHA, which includes Vodafone and 3, has 6.72 million handset customers in Australia.
Future plans and development
Optus recently announced the roll-out of Long Term Evolution (LTE) on the Open Network, with LTE services to be delivered from April 2012. They also have plans to shift to the U900 spectrum, which will improve 3G mobile coverage in major metropolitan areas.