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Mobile price competition stirs in Australia

Vodafail over, competition resumes, says Goldman Sachs

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Beleaguered Australian mobile users might be about to get some price relief, if research from Goldman Sachs proves accurate.

Vodafone Australia and Optus sub-brand Virgin mobile are leading the charge, the price survey found, both announcing “double data” plans for a limited time.

According to Australian telco newsletter Communications Day, Vodafone's move signals that it's finally happy with the work it's carried out to upgrade its network, after a couple of unfortunate years that saw the carrier dubbed “Vodafail”.

The newsletter quotes Goldman Sachs as saying: “VHA’s recent pricing moves signal increased network confidence. Given increasing capacity in Vodafone’s network (lower subs and 4G network upgrades), there is little incremental cost for it in raising data allowances at this stage”.

Whether or not Telstra or Optus follow suit will depend on how much impact Voda's move has. The third carrier's dramatic slump in the market was confirmed earlier this month, when it announced that its customer base had dropped to 5 million, partly because Vodafone implemented a new accounting practice in which it deleted all SIMs that had been inactive for more than three months.

The less-competitive carrier market has been matched by something of a squeeze in the MVNO market: the troubles suffered by failed wholesaler ISPOne brought about the exit of brands such as Kogan, while other MVNOs have had to negotiate contracts directly with carriers – along the way, reducing their plan inclusions. ®

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