Optus is set to provide its mobile customers with free 24-month warranties when they sign 24-month contracts by the end of the year.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, Graeme Samuel, said Optus is expected to provide the free agreements to its customers by the Christmas season.
The move will mean Australians who sign 24-month mobile phone contracts can get their handsets replaced or repaired free of charge if they suffer from defects.
Customers previously had to pay extra for the coverage and were often left with faulty devices for months until contracts ended.
Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) and Telstra have separately agreed to similar arrangements for their customers after negotiations with handset manufacturers, making Optus the last of the major telcos to get on board.
“We’re getting a bit concerned about the time it’s taking Optus to get these arrangements in place,” he said. “Optus is indicating to us that they anticipate having their arrangements in place in the next couple of months so you want to think that certainly in respect to this Christmas period that everything will be in place.
“If it’s not, then we may have to deal with it otherwise…it’s an unsatisfactory set of circumstances and it needs to be fixed.”
A spokesperson for Optus confirmed discussions were underway with the ACCC and that a deal was expected by the end of the year.
Unfortunately for Apple smartphone users, iPhones are excluded from the agreements signed by Telstra and VHA. Samuel said this was because the Apple sells extended warranties to customers and will not provide it free to the telcos.
“In the case of Apple the negotiations are still continuing,” he said. “It may well be that arrangements to get phones repaired in the 12-24 months period will impose an extra cost on the phones.”