Optus devours MVNO partner Amaysim for $176M

Australia's Optus, wholly owned by Singapore's Singtel, announced an A$250 million (US$176 million) all-cash deal to snare listed MVNO customer Amaysim.

The deal, assuming it gets shareholder approval, would see the MVNO de-list next June.

Behind Australia's big-three mobile network operators – Telstra, TPG Telecom and Optus – Amaysim is the next-largest mobile services provider in the country with nearly 1.2 million subscribers.

Amaysim plays to the "value" end of the market, as does Gomo, a new digital brand designed "for those seeking simple plans and budget-friendly telecommunication services."

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin described the two announcements as "strategic plays" that demonstrated commitment to "winning the hearts and minds of all Australians."

Rosmarin added that Optus was lacking sub-brands in the "growing MVNO segment," and that the Amaysim acquisition – plus Gomo – plugged those gaps.

Amaysim, according to local reports, said the sale followed a strategic review of its options in an increasingly competitive market. The MVNO's shareholders will be asked to approve the sale at a January EGM.

Peter O’Connell, Amaysim founder and CEO, said he believed Optus would be a "safe pair of hands" for the brand's customers (and also its staff).

Gomo the MVNO disruptor

The new Gomo app is designed to target markets in which MVNOs tend to play. A digital-only offering, it allows customers to sign up and manage their accounts.

Singtel has apparently already had some success with the Gomo app in Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.

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Matt Williams, Optus' managing director of marketing and revenue, was upbeat about the potential of an Optus-backed Gomo launch.

"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," he said.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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