Virgin Mobile focuses on 4G - no NBN retail aspirations

Virgin Mobile has growth plans hinged on a three-pronged approach

Virgin Mobile has no plans to enter the National Broadband Network (NBN) retail market, instead focusing its attention on building out its mobile customer base and its 4G capabilities.

While Virgin Mobile currently offers prepaid and postpaid broadband and plans for tablets, David Scribner, Virgin Mobile Australia marketing director, told Computerworld Australia that the company is focused on mobile services.

“We are focused as a mobile carrier on mobility, so we’re looking at the next generation of 4G and how that plays into what we’re doing,” he said.

Virgin Mobile, which uses the Optus network, will use the Optus 4G network to deliver 4G to its customers in the next "few months" at the same time as Optus rolls out its 4G offering.

The Optus 4G network is currently being trialled in Greater Newcastle, Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie.

While Scribner said Virgin Mobile is not specifically eyeing off the number three position in the market – it is currently placed fourth – it does have keen aspirations for growth and is on “that trajectory at the moment," Scribner said.

“…so growth in our customer numbers and to ensure that we remain competitive in that.”

The focus of this growth will rest on a three-pronged approach – retaining a number one rating in customer satisfaction, as rated by Roy Morgan research, simplifying rates and building brand awareness through advertising campaigns with a twist, such as using Brad Pitt’s brother, Doug Pitt, as a ‘celebrity’ endorser.

“We believe that the telco industry has elements that are unfair. As the fourth player in the industry, [we] like to promote that we are the fairest telco,” Scribner said.

Virgin Mobile is also making use of other Virgin products to offer further incentives to consumers to sign up with it. For example, linking the Virgin Velocity frequent flyer program with phone plans to earn points and also giving discounts and points for using Virgin credit cards in conjunction with Virgin Mobile.

However, Scribner said the value-adds and changes to phone plans, such as reducing the number of plans available on Virgin Mobile to five, have not been prompted by competition in the market.

“We think that we’re riding a course that’s different to the rest of the industry,” he said.

“…We have the largest percentage growth of any of the major telcos of last year, but there’s no doubt that there’s always pressure in the market. But we think that there’s elements where we can have a reasonable profit.”

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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