Exetel's Linton flags business revamp, new mobile plans

The ISP has dropped Vodafone in favour of Optus' retail mobile plans and will expand its international business network

Exetel's chief executive, John Linton, has flagged major changes, including dropping Vodafone's retail mobile plans in favour of Optus, aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the internet service provider (ISP).

In a blog post, Linton wrote that the ISP would shortly begin promoting Optus' mobile retail plans to its current ADSL customers and shortly after that to its new ADSL customer.

"This is, in some ways, a very big change for us because we seldom 'leave' a supplier and we have used the same mobile service provider since mid 2004 when we first began to offer mobile services," Linton wrote.

"We have also 'stubbornly' maintained since that time our 'need' to create our own plans rather than reselling a carrier's retail plans which is a real major change for us. However the circumstances in the current ADSL residential marketplaces are now so different we could no longer continue with those previous policies. Sad - but necessary."

Linton said the ISP would also begin placing emphasis on smaller business services via a revamp of its website, new pricing, new services and building a new small business outbound sales force very much along the lines of the corporate sales force the company been building since late February 2009.

"This will obviously take longer than just changing mobile suppliers (though that is by no means as easy as I have made it sound) but with a bit of concentration that should 'get under way' before too much more time elapses," Linton wrote. "It will be interesting to enter a brand new marketplace for Exetel for the first time almost since we began business."

Exetel would also look to expand its business network beyond Australia to New Zealand, the USA and to the UK/EU.

"We have been turning away an increasing amount of business each month from Australian based companies that want links to these countries and, more lately, overseas companies operating in Australia that want their Australian operations, often in multiple locations, linked back to their head offices," Linton wrote.

"In my ignorance I had always dismissed these opportunities as being too expensive to invest in with little prospect of reaching break even in any realistic time."

The company would also look to "quadruple" efforts in providing VoIP services to small and large businesses through hiring more VoIP personnel specialising in VoIP sales and support.

Commenting on the reselling of its mobile retail plans an Optus spokesperson said its wholesale division has been working with Exetel since 2003.

“We provide a range of wholesale retail and business grade products to Exetel including broadband, mobile broadband and now mobile services,” the spokesperson said.

Other Optus Wholesale partners include M2, Dodo, TPG and Woolworths.

As reported by Computerworld Australia in September the telecommunications industry ombudsman (TIO) could soon contest a legal action initiated by telco Exetel, which has alleged fines were wrongly issued in response to customer complaints.

With reporting by Hamish Barwick.

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