QANTAS Considers Launching a Mobile Phone Service

Qantas mobile phone plan

Qantas targets MVNO market

Qantas might be Australia’s next Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). The popular airline has partnered with telcos before to offer frequent flyer miles to customers. But now, Qantas is looking to launch its own mobile phone service.

Qantas will resell the Optus network if the MVNO launches and, according to a survey conducted by the airline’s research arm, customers will earn points which can be used to pay their Qantas phone bill as well as other perks.

In this article, we’ll break down what Qantas mobile could look like.

About Qantas

Qantas is one of the most popular airlines in the country, known for its loyalty program. The airline has signed up over 13 million members, thanks to  frequent flyer miles. Members can use their points on flight rewards, upgrades, hotels, car hire, and more.

As of FY2020, Quantas held approximately 63 percent of domestic market capacity share. And with COVID-19 landing a significant blow to businesses in Australia last year, Qantas was able to rely on its loyalty program which contributed over $340 million in earnings. The airline has set an even more ambitious  target of $500 to $600 million by mid 2024.

Qantas has been linked to telcos in the past

Qantas’ ambitions have always gone beyond airline services. The company has also branched into health and car insurance, as well as credit cards.

But Qantas’ sights have always been in the telco space, where it partnered with Vodafone between 2016 and 2019 to reward customers with points on some Vodafone plans. Qantas also partnered with Optus prior to that, before the telco took a different route with their Optus Yes Rewards program.

However, Qantas’ latest ambitions are different – launch their own MVNO. This way, Qantas customers can get all the perks and rewards, and Qantas will be in control of what those points and rewards are.

What could a Qantas phone plan look like?

Qantas hasn’t actually decided to launch their mobile phone service yet, but we know that if they do, it will be on the Optus network.

The Qantas survey conducted by their Red Planet research team also gives us an idea of the perks a Qantas phone plan will bring to customers.

  • A 20,000 to 40,000 Qantas Points sign up bonus is suggested survey if you choose a Qantas phone plan. These points are enough for one or two round trips from Sydney to Melbourne.
  • The survey also floats the idea of the sign up bonus being added to 1,000 to 3,000 points earned each monthly billing cycle, or offered as an alternative to the monthly earn.
  • The survey also asked respondents what they think about discounts on points-based flights, as well as perks and vouchers for Qantas Hotel, Qantas Wine, and airport lounge access.
  • And of course, respondents were asked what they think about paying their phone bill with accumulated points.

The idea seems to be a heavily discounted mobile phone service based on customer loyalty – the longer you stay a Qantas customer, the more points and rewards you earn and the more money you save.

However, we thought the suggested points-to-cash calculation was a bit cheap. The survey sought opinions on the rate of 2,000 points being worth just $10, which isn’t as generous as exchanging points for airline tickets.

Final thoughts – Optus MVNOs

Optus is becoming one of the most MVNO-friendly telcos. The major telco just acquired Amaysim, the largest MVNO in Australia. Optus also launched its own sub-brand mobile phone service, Gomo, and has a long list of independent MVNOs reselling their network.

One of the major benefits Optus MVNOs will have is their 5G network. Optus announced last year that their 5G network will be available to MVNOs, making them the only major telco to offer 5G to smaller phone companies.

It is not clear yet whether Qantas will benefit from Optus’ 5G network if they decide to launch an MVNO of their own, but the option is certainly there. In fact, SpinTel Mobile is a prime example – the MVNO now offers 5G plans, thanks to Optus opening up its 5G network.


Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.