Optus has made the move to acquire the mobile business of wholesale partner amaysim for $250 million in an all cash offer, as part of its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) strategy.
The acquisition will see the telecommunications provider acquire approximately 1.19 million customers.
In addition, the telco has also launched its own MVNO brand, Gomo, which already has a presence in Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand with the same name under parent company Singtel.
Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said both moves are part of the telco’s attempts to disrupt the MVNO market, as she said Optus has previously not had any involvement with sub brands in the space.
“Optus has been rated Australia’s strongest brand, and is competing well in the market, but we have not had any sub brands competing in the growing MVNO segment of the market," she said. “That’s why we are so excited to extend our reach and appeal by adding Australia’s largest and most successful MVNO brand, amaysim, and a new digital brand, Gomo, to our line-up.”
Peter O’Connell, amaysim CEO, said he believes Optus “is well-placed to look after our customers and take the growth of the business to the next level”.
The sale is conditional on shareholder approval with a meeting scheduled for January 2021. If the sale does go through, amaysim plans to provide select transactional services to Optus for up to three months. After this, it will start the process to delist from the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
The decision to acquire the mobile business came after the MVNO sold its Click Energy business to energy company AGL in late August for $115 million.
At that time, it received unsolicited expressions of interest for its mobile business, according to a statement published to the ASX. It also initiated a tender for its wholesale mobile contract at the same time, with amaysim claiming that this and the selling of the business “are in effect mutually exclusive outcomes”.
In fact, amaysim claims that the sale removes the risk of a wholesale tender outcome.
A portion of the customer base to be acquired by Optus comes from amaysim's acquisition of approximately 77,000 Ovo Mobile subscribers, which took place in June.
The acquisition of amaysim’s mobile business coincides with its launch of Gomo in Australia. Labelled as a “true digital-only offering in the MVNO market” by the telco, the new provider is set to offer access to Optus’ network, including 4G and 5G connectivity.
Optus claims that Gomo’s offerings — a focus on digital service options, according to Optus managing director of marketing and revenue Matt Williams — stems from consumer research and experience from Singtel’s Gomo presence in Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.
“Utilising Optus’ mastery of digital experiences, Gomo is set to be the real challenger brand of the MVNO market – just as Optus is the challenger in the MNO market - and we plan to really shake up the market with what Gomo has to offer,” Williams said.