Optus has written to customers of fixed-wireless-only ISP Unwired, advising them the company's network will be closed as of February 28, 2013, and offering them alternatives in the form of 3G and 4G wireless broadband plans. The letter to customers, a copy of which has been obtained by The Register, contains some nifty …
I got that notification by email yesterday
The email contained a set of alternative 3G / 4G plans from Optus, and a link to a coverage map. According to that map Optus have no plans to provide 4G. So I guess I will be migrating to Telstra. They already have 4G in my area and I have a line-of-sight to both Optus and Telstra. I plan to install an external MIMO antenna.
My guess is that in future years, this event will end up being a case study in Business Schools. Why would anyone pay $230 million for a business then shut it down without having an equivalent offering (read 4G) in place? The spectrum they acquired is all very high frequency and does not penetrate that well. Users needed to place modems near the right window or use an external antenna. The spectrum is not worth any where $230 million.
The other issue is who in their right mind would want to do business with a company that would likely cut you off in this way?
What now for WiMax smart electricity meters?
One of the electricity distributors in Victoria, SP Ausnet, is using WiMax for communications to and from smart electricity meters. See http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/smart-meters/publications/reports-and-consultations/advanced-metering-infrastructure-cost-benefit-analysis/3.-technology-deployed-in-victoria .
This always seemed dumb from several perspectives:
- making a bet on the winner in mobile broadband standards wars
- an electricity company building its own base stations when perfectly good ones already exist built by people who know how to do it
Now WiMax is dead for any other purpose in Australia, surely SP Ausnet should rethink?
Optus has dropped the ball on transitioning Unwired customers
"And there we were thinking Unwired customers became a part of the Optus family on the day of the acquisition." Well said - Unwired customers clearly aren't seen as part of the Optus family. Optus has advised that when the Unwired network is turned off the email accounts will be cancelled. They will not be providing a redirect facility for those people who are going to take longer than a few months to clear out all usage of their Unwired e-mail address. That's some way to treat a member of the family. I wonder how many ex-Unwired user they hope to get signing up to Optus plans when people start realising what sorts of probblems they will run into without that redirect. And part of that period is the Christmans/New Year break when it's difficult to get anything done!
Optus could have marketted it as a plus "Sign up with Optus and we will automatically apply the redirect to your new Optus address!". Some chance.
Confidence in an orderly transition of e-mail addresses that can be supported by an extended redirect period is a fairly basic requirement in an e-mail account. Telstra can do it. Optus has sure shot themselves in the foot by not committing to this up front.
Unwired still has customers?!