A Nu competitor has entered the fight for your mobile phone contract.
Macquarie Group is launching a telco called Nu Mobile, which will offer plans that come with used phones, the Australian Financial Review reports. Similar to players like Kogan, Amaysim, and TPG, the service will run on current infrastructure, classing it as a mobile virtual network operator.
What this means is that, like its main competitors, Nu Mobile will offer access to a larger telco’s network rather than creating its own. In this case, the network is Telstra’s.
As the AFR points out, used handset deals are popular in the US but haven’t really taken off here in Australia yet, and because Macquarie Group is already sitting on over a million leased smartphones, it seems to be in a unique position to launch such a venture.
Macquarie leases handsets to retailers who then lease them on to consumers who are required to return them after one or two years depending on the contract they decide to go with. These deals usually result in a cheaper monthly fee for the handset, given they don’t get to hold onto it once the contract is up.
The AFR report says that Australian Securities and Investment Commission documents were the revealing factor in uncovering Macquarie Group as the holding company of Nu Mobile, as the brand itself has no identifying markers.
There’s a Nu Mobile website up right now but doesn’t contain much more than a logo and the words “coming soon” and “the nu way” at the time of writing.
It seems like the perfect time for such a service to pop up here in Australia, given the demand for new mobile devices appears to be dropping. On top of that, the introduction of foldable displays seen on devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold seems to be heralding a new phase of technology which will likely take some time to be adopted by the masses.
I’d wager the majority of Australian mobile users won’t be running out to drop almost $3,000 on a Galaxy Fold straight away, particularly if a used S9 or S10 will cost them significantly less.