Amaysim is gambling that it's better to be late to the 4G mobile party with strong plans than arrive early with weak ones, according to Julian Ogrin, CEO of the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).
The four-year-old Amaysim today launched its first 4G plans on the Optus network. The MVNO will offer users up to 6GB of data for prices that are in many cases cheaper than its larger rivals, many of whom launched 4G plans more than a year ago.
Illustrating its slow-but-steady-wins-the-race philosophy, Amaysim for its marketing has teamed up with the Olympic speed skater Steven Bradbury, who in 2002 famously won a Gold medal from behind after the skaters in front of him collided and fell on the ice.
"There was a real early rush to 4G," Ogrin told Computerworld Australia. "We always said we weren't going to come to 4G until the market was right and we could offer a great product to our customers.
"It was sort of like [competitors] were tripping over each other to get the early lead on price and we were just sort of sitting back and watching it."
Customers have been asking Amaysim for a year when they would release 4G plans, acknowledged Ogrin. "We have in the last three or four months started to see a real lift in communication from our customers" asking Amaysim to provide 4G.
However, he said that Amaysim did not see a significant number of customers ditching the company for greener 4G pastures.
Amaysim didn't believe there was enough 4G coverage or devices last year to release plans at that time, he said. Last year, Optus coverage was about 80 per cent of the population — most of it outdoor coverage — and only 30 per cent of devices were 4G, he said.
The landscape has changed since then, Ogrin said. Optus coverage will be 90 per cent by April, and the network operator in January commenced deploying the 700MHz spectrum it won in the Digital Dividend auction, he said.
The lower frequency of 700MHz, compared to the 1800MHz band initially used for 4G, means that the wireless airwaves can travel more easily through buildings and provide better indoor coverage.
Also, Telsyte estimates that by June this year, 4G users will represent 50 per cent of the mobile market in Australia, Ogrin said.
Amaysim 4G plans
The Amaysim 6GB plan includes unlimited calling and text in Australia for $54.90 per month. For $10 less, customers get 4GB of data with unlimited calling and text. For the budget conscious, Amaysim will sell a $29.90 plan including 1.5GB of data plus unlimited text and 500 minutes of standard voice calls.
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