COVID-19 is shaping the future telco market
With COVID-19 dealing a blow to the Australian telco market, the major telcos are looking for ways to make up the difference. Right now, entering the MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) market seems like the best way to compete.
The first 6 months of this year saw Service in Operation (SIO) decline by 62,000. This was mostly due to COVID-19 restrictions, which prevented international travelers from entering the country and purchasing prepaid plans while in Australia.
The major telcos took a loss, especially Optus and Vodafone. Optus recorded a 9 percent year-on-year decline in operating revenue, and their mobile service revenue dropped 2 percent.
While the major telcos were struggling during COVID-19, MVNOs recorded a 2 percent year-on-year improvement, accounting for 16 percent of the entire telco market’s SIO gain. So its no surprise that the major telcos are now looking to the MVNO market as the place to be.
Optus recently announced the purchase of the largest MVNO in Australia, Amaysim, and the deal will be finalized early next year. The telco also announced the launch of its own fully digital mobile service, Gomo, to compete in the MVNO market.
TPG Telecom (Vodafone) made a similar announcement in October. They announced the launch of Felix Mobile, also a fully digital MVNO.
Both Optus and Vodafone’s MVNO announcements will mean Telstra’s Belong will have some new competition. Telstra has seen huge benefits from Belong, which accounted for over half of the telco’s new postpaid subscribers this year, and all of its broadband subscribers.
This success makes the market look even more attractive to Optus and Vodafone, hence the roll out of Gomo and Felix Mobile. So which is better – Gomo, Felix Mobile, or Belong? As Australia’s major telcos take their battle to the MVNO market, we’ll compare their MVNOs to help you decide the best one for you.
What we know about mobile plans from Gomo, Felix Mobile, and Belong
Belong has been around for a while now, so we know everything about them. Gomo and Felix Mobile, on the other hand, are brand new so we only know the basics.
But we do know that all three mobile services are fully digital, meaning you have to purchase and activate their mobile plans from your phone through their apps. You will also be able to manage your plan and contact customer service through those apps.
We also know that these mobile services aim to offer cheap phone plans. Australians plan to spend less over the next year because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and this draws them to value-driven MVNO brands who market cheap phone plans.
The major telcos are targeting that sector of the market with affordable plans, but they each have their unique offers.
Here’s a quick comparison table of Gomo (Optus), Felix Mobile (Vodafone), and Belong (Telstra):
Bottom line – So which is the best?
Gomo, Felix Mobile, and Belong have similarities, but they are also very different. Both their similarities and difference are there to help them compete in the crowded MVNO market, and to compete amongst each other as well.
Determining which of the three is the best for you is really up to you. But here are a few things that stand out that you should consider:
The $1 introductory offer for a prepaid plan with 18GB of data is unheard of. However, this promo is only available to the first 5,000 subscribers, and it only applies to the first month on the plan. After that, the Gomo plan costs $25 per month for the same inclusions. However, their unlimited International calls to 15 countries is a great feature. Also, this is the only MVNO out of the three that will have 5G access.
- Felix Mobile
5Mbps is not very fast if you’re a heavy streamer, but there are a lot of things you can get done with that speed, including streaming SD movies. The fact that Felix Mobile offers unlimited data at those speeds is a great deal at just $35 per month. However, for those who want high speed data, this won’t be ideal. Also, we are curious to see how Vodafone handles the 5Mbps cap if they ever decide to allow 5G on Felix Mobile plans.
This mobile service is time tested, and that’s its greatest advantage. Belong is already established, so you know what to expect, unlike Gomo and Felix Mobile that nobody has really tried and reviewed.