Alternative Australian broadband provider iiNet has suggested that it is considering moving ‘beyond’ its existing mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreements with a view to offering a unique mobile voice service. iTnews reports that the telco is examining options including consolidating its existing carrier arrangements coupled with the deployment of its own infrastructure, in part to lower costs, while also ensuring its mobile voice options offered something different. The report cites iiNet chief technology officer Greg Bader as suggesting that it could follow a similar strategy to the rollout of DSLAM equipment in Telstra’s exchanges, with the executive noting: ‘The commercial advantage I have in ADSL and VoIP I don’t have in mobile today … We build up a customer base via wholesale and we look to deploy our own infrastructure to either reduce the costs of operating or, just as importantly, add in differentiators.’ It is understood that in order to achieve such a plan, the integration of iiNet’s existing voice over IP (VoIP) networks, content and international internet links is required, while the operator is also reported to be considering additional infrastructure such as back-end intelligence to provide more transparent roaming between fixed and mobile networks, off the back of an existing mobile network.
iiNet presently has around 45,000 mobile voice customers, with those offered service via the networks of either Optus or Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA). It is thought that any plan to revamp the means by which it offers mobile voice services would see the telco consolidate its existing mobile infrastructure contracts with both aforementioned cellcos.
iiNet’s push to develop its mobile voice product comes as part of a wider-ranging aim to sell an average three products to each of its customers by 2014. Further, the operator is keen to enhance its position as a serious contender to its rivals, with Bader stating: ‘The voice stuff is interesting – quite clearly, we intend to be around for a long time and we would like to be number two in this country. We don’t believe it’s possible to do that without some mobile offering … We want to be the clear choice other than the incumbent in this country so we need to have a mobile product or solution. We don’t have the cost advantages of network ownership so we need to play with the cards we’ve got.’