It seems that Telstra has been copping some flak for the impending doom of Kogan Mobile. Telstra has taken to its blog with a vigorous defence, saying that it won't be blamed for the closure of the cut-price carrier.
The closure of Kogan Mobile was brought about by the collapse of wholesaler ispONE earlier this week. After losing a court battle with Telstra surrounding money owed, the company called in administrators from Ferrier Hodgson to take hold amidst the skid. It was at this point that the administrator cancelled the Telstra wholesale contract, leaving Kogan Mobile and Aldi Mobile up the river without a boat, let alone a paddle: nobody was able to provide wireless service to the two MVNOs, leading to a crisis.
Telstra was able to broker a deal with Medion Australia, which supplies to Aldi Mobile, however a deal has not yet been reached with Kogan Mobile to secure the future of the company. As a result, staying on the carrier is a sinking proposition. Telstra and Kogan Mobile have set up temporary service for those left stranded as they ferry their numbers off the service and onto other carriers.
Kogan Mobile took to its website this week to allege that there is a conspiracy afoot in the greater mobile industry in Australia to force out cheap carriers offering unlimited deals, and on first glance, that may be true. SavvyTel, Red Bull Mobile and Crazy Johns are just a few telcos that used to offer unlimited service, only to fold unceremoniously. Kogan Mobile has now joined the ranks of the flame-outs.
According to Telstra's statements today, it seems to think that public perception is against it for supposedly closing Kogan Mobile and doing nothing to save the challenger brand. It's now looking to counter that opinion with facts:
This week people may have seen that ispONE has gone into voluntary administration and the impact this has had ispONE’s customers, including Kogan Mobile. We are concerned at the misinformation and confusion around our role in this matter.
ispONE had been a customer of Telstra Wholesale for mobile and fixed line products. ispONE on-sold these products to retailers and in some instances to the public. For example, ispONE supplied the online retailer Kogan and Medion (who supply the ALDImobile brand) utilising the Telstra Wholesale pre-paid mobile product. Under this arrangement, Telstra had no direct relationship with Kogan, Medion or ALDI.
As mentioned, Telstra entered into a deal with Medion for the continued supply of mobile service to Aldi Mobile, but Kogan Mobile has been left out in the cold. Why? Telstra has little to no reason to offer, but adds that it has pursued a deal:
To date, we have not been able to reach an agreement with Kogan.
The decision by Ferrier Hodgson, as ispONE’s administrator, to terminate Telstra’s Wholesale’s pre-paid mobile contract meant we had no choice but to progress with disconnecting Kogan’s services, although we are currently providing an interim service at our own cost to Kogan end users so they have time to choose their next steps.
Kogan Mobile users can no longer recharge their services, and have roughly 30 days to get off the carrier and save their number easily.
It's not a great situation for anyone, but it's clear that people seem to think the bad guy in this scenario is Telstra. Otherwise, why the blog? [Exchange]