Optus has revealed that customers at its mobile operation fell by around 280,000 in the quarter ending 31 March 2005, crippling its subscriber growth for the financial year; in fiscal 2004 mobile users grew by 6.6%, compared to 17.6% the previous year. The cellco has attributed the slowdown to its new policy of not counting pre-paid customers who have not spent any money on its service for 60 days or more. At the end of March, Optus Mobile had 5.92 million mobile subscribers, down from 6.2 million at the end of December. Around 500,000 of the customers included in Optus’ base are subscribers to MVNO Virgin Mobile, in which the cellco owns a 30% stake. In a bid to boost growth, Optus is offering its customers AUD500 worth of calls for just AUD79.