By Claire Reilly
Optus has announced a radical restructure of its retail network, with the telco set to discontinue the Boost pre-paid brand, cut ties with mobile phone reseller TeleChoice and open 33 dedicated new Optus stores over the next 12 months.
Optus’ managing director of sales, Rohan Ganeson, said that this process of “rationalisation” was necessary as the uptake of mobile phones in Australia starts to slow down.
“As the Australian mobile market matures and we move from a period of growth to one of customer retention, we need a distribution model that reflects this,” said Ganeson. “There is too much capacity in the mobile distribution market and we have made a decision to rationalise our third party distribution channels, while strengthening our branded Optus channels.”
That rationalisation will see the retail agreement between Optus and TeleChoice cease on 31 March 2013. Up until that point, TeleChoice will remain a dealer for Optus, Virgin Mobile and Pre-paid Services (PPS), all of which use the Optus network.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we thank TeleChoice for their support over the last decade,” said Ganeson.
As of 20 January 2013, Optus will also terminate its licence for the Boost brand. However, the company has confirmed that it will “retain the pre-paid customers acquired during the partnership with Boost, providing them with continued access to their current plans under its own pre-paid Optus brand”.
As it severs ties with external brands, Optus is set to boost its own presence by transforming its “branded sales channels to become a full service customer channel”. As part of this move, Optus is opening 33 dedicated Optus stores, and creating over 200 jobs.
“As the products and services we sell become more diversified and sophisticated, so too do the needs of our customers,” Ganeson said. “As a result, retail is no longer just a sales channel – it’s a channel where customers come to better understand technology and how to get the most from it.”
According to the telco, this initiative will see the roll out of “improved IT systems and infrastructure” to support staff, an increase in training, “tighter integration between all Optus channels so customers who buy online can collect in-store” and a focus on “dedicated product experts” to assist customers on the sales floor.
“The market is maturing, consumer behaviour is changing and our retail strategy needs to reflect this,” said Ganeson. “These changes will allow us to better interact with our customers and deliver a more consistent experience across all Optus sales channels.”
TeleChoice has been contacted for comment.