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Australia,Telcos,Online Video

Video Race Goes Mobile In Australia

Mobile video looks set to win more viewers in Australia, as Telstra and Optus – the country’s two biggest telcos – woo customers with special deals for unmetered streaming over their mobile networks.

Telstra and Optus fired their latest salvos within a few days of each other earlier this month, in an ongoing bid to protect investments in 4G spectrum as well as rights for sports and, for Telstra, entertainment.

Such promotions are already common for fixed broadband customers, after homegrown and international players launched a flurry of OTT video services last year.

In its latest move, Telstra – Australia’s biggest telecoms company – has broadened its integration with the country’s three main SVOD providers, Netflix, Stan and Presto, adding a three-month complimentary subscription for all three across selected mobile plans from August 23.

The deal is part of a bigger mobile entertainment push. It also includes unmetered mobile access to Apple Music as well as a mobile app, Telstra TV+, which can search for content across Stan, Presto and BigPond Movies, Telstra’s own TVOD and EST service.

The app also doubles up as a remote for Telstra TV, an aggregated streaming service the telco bundles with some of its fixed broadband plans.

Telstra already provides free access to live rugby (NRL), Australian Rules football (AFL), netball and basketball for its mobile subs.

Optus responds

The company is facing increased competition from Australia’s number two telco, Optus, which has been investing in exclusive sports rights, including English Premier League (EPL) football and domestic cricket. These are the first steps in a plan to reposition Optus as a company that sells access to OTT video, rather than than just broadband.

A few days after Telstra’s announcement, Optus unveiled unmetered streaming for two SVOD services, Netflix and Presto, (SD quality/1.5Mbps), and four audio services, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google Play Music and Pandora (up to 512kps).

Optus’ latest deal, targeting postpaid mobile customers, is free for some of its more expensive plans or an extra A$10 (US$7.7) per month for others.

The telco also offers a similar deal for EPL subscribers. EPL games are excluded from data caps for more mobile plans than Netflix and Presto, but unmetered streaming costs an extra A$15 (US$11.5) per month for the rest.

The EPL is not part of Australia’s anti-siphoning list, which mandates mass coverage for marquee sports. As a result, it sits at the heart of Optus’ plans to boost its subscriber base.

The telco's EPL coverage launched with a baptism of fire however, due to delayed and frozen transmission for some live matches.

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