Optus drops Allphones deal to focus on home-grown retail offer

The nation’s second largest telco has now dropped yet another third-party deal from its ranks, with Optus abandoning a content deal with retail arm Allphones to instead focus on its own home-grown stores.

The move is a blow to the solidly-performing Allphones, whose parent company was recently snapped up by Canadian group Glentel.

The Allphones brand was emphasised as a bright spot in the deal.

The move to abandon a content deal with Allphones comes after Optus has closed off deals with third-party dealer Telechoice and another distributor, BoostMobile.

Allphones was contacted by SmartCompany this morning, but was unable to reply before publication.

Ovum research director David Kennedy suggests the move is just the company “shifting gears”.

“Optus is bringing more of its channel management in-house, in order to get more control over customer experience and avoid fragmentation of the Optus brand,” he told SmartCompany this morning.

“We think they’re doing the right thing. There’s an international trend is this direction right now.”

In a statement, Optus said it will be “refocusing its retail distribution to better reflect the maturing mobile market and changing consumer needs”.

“As part of this process, Optus is developing a more integrated retail and online presence and rationalising some third-party distribution channels.”

Cutting off third party ties will save Optus money in distribution and logistics spending. It’s becoming increasingly important for telcos to watch their bottom lines as they compete for market share in the lead-up to the National Broadband Network.

Cashing in on the demand for smartphones within its own retail stores could place Optus in a better position, but more importantly, create a positive experience for existing customers.

Telcos need to hold on to existing customers rather than just grab them from rival firms, which can be much more expensive. Vodafone, which has lost hundreds of thousands of subscribers over the past 18 months, is in such a poor position due to so many of its subscribers moving to rival telcos.

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