By Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY, NSW: Australians are sick and tired of big telcos offering complicated and byzantine plans, with Vodafone currently the subject of stinging criticism from customers and pared down rivals attracting consumers looking for no frills service.
As best exemplified by the Vodafail.com website, in which disgruntled Vodafone customers can vent their anger at the British super telco, Australian mobile phone and internet users are unhappy with the three major telcos — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone — for their poor network, poor customer service and overly complex plans.
“I have tried to ring Vodafone customer service is the past few weeks for several times but I have never been successful. Each day I called at least five times, either the voice machine said that they have technical issues and require me to hang up, or I have been put on hold for at least one hour each time. Even I am lucky enough to speak to a human, as soon as they knew I want to cancel my contract, they cut the line off straight away,” wrote one unhappy Vodafone customer.
Seeing the potential this disaffection was having, German rogue telco entrepreneur Rolf Hansen set up Amaysim in Australia late last year. Hansen said his concept — no minimum spend, no flagfalls, one call rate for everybody — was having significant cut through with consumers.
“We had a very ambitious plan and we are very happy with the way the product has been taken up by Australians,” said Hansen. “What we clearly see after these eight weeks, knowing that it’s just eight weeks out of a plan that goes over a couple of years, is that we have a relevant product that Australians seem to have been waiting for.”
Although Hansen is very happy with Amaysim’s take up, he does not want to muddle Amaysim’s overall message by adding new products too quickly.
“We don’t want to be another Telstra or Vodafone with 160 different plans and combinations and what have you, we’re trying to be a bit of the opposite,” he said.