Woolworths Mobile to get the chop by Optus

Josh Taylor from ZDnet:

Woolworths will cease selling mobile services on the Optus network from October 1, 2013, as Optus again culls the number of resellers that can access its network.

In yet another sign that the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) market is shrinking, Optus has confirmed that it is ending its agreement with Woolworths.

I feel kinda conflicted about these moves. MVNOs in the telco market have always been a mixed bag; they certainly can’t match the top-tier telcos for reliability, speed or service. If I had a buck for every time I’ve heard complaints about an MVNO I’d be backstroking through my vault of dollar coins, Scrooge McDuck-style.

So what do they have going for them? Well, an MVNO can go cheap. Real cheap. That’s served to keep the big 3 on their toes by threatening to lure people away from lucrative monthly plans.

It’s very clear that Telstra, Optus & Vodafone want the average cost of a plan to creep up into the $60-80 a month range. We can see it through Optus & Vodafone revamping their plan structure, and the release of expensive iPhone 5s/5c plans by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

Let’s hope this shrinking MVNO market doesn’t give the big 3 a free pass on moving toward higher monthly fees for customers.