Hot on the heels of Optus switching on its new 4G LTE network in Sydney and Perth last week has come a range of announcements from other carriers undertaking to resell these new services. For the most part these are providers that already resell Optus voice and mobile broadband 3G services, such as Virgin, Amaysim and Boost.
The latest of these providers is Internode, which resells Optus 3G mobile broadband services on some of the most competitive plans going around. Internode's parent company iiNet also resells Optus mobile services (also with relatively generous plans). Internode managing director Simon Hackett made the announcement in a brief aside on Whirlpool last week.
The willingness of Optus to enter into wholesale agreements on its shiniest and newest network is a key differentiator between that carrier and Telstra. Telstra, as we know, does not permit any other carrier to resell its 4G services, just as it didn't with Next G when that was its flagship network.
This will likely have some important ramifications, which will depend on the real-world performance of the new Optus network. With Next G, Telstra could always get away with charging a premium cost, because they had what was indisputably the best mobile network in the country. However, Optus is claiming that its new 4G network is at least as fast as Telstra's 4G network (although this is of course being disputed). Even if the two networks offer broadly comparable performance, Optus' wholesale model will surely see strong competition in the 4G mobile broadband sector.