Optus outguns OzEmail in ISP report

Optus has inched ahead of ISP competitor OzEmail to become the number two residential ISP in the Australian market, according to a new report.

The ACNielsen.consult December 2002 Residential Market Share Report found that based on its current ISP customer numbers, Optus chalked up the fastest growing customer base of Australia’s residential ISPs and would take over the second highest spot as at January 31, 2003. OzEmail had previously held the second top position, with Telstra leading the customer tally.

But despite the new report, OzEmail claims to have the highest number of subscribers of the two ISPs, with 600,000 active customers. In contrast, Optus says it has 540,000 residential ISP customers, and claims around 30,000 new users are signing up for ISP services per month.

Both significantly trail Telstra however, which continues to maintain a substantial lead in the consumer ISP market with over one million customers.

ACNielsen.consult infrastructure analyst Andrew Tolputt said the results of the report were based on ACNielsen.consult’s Australian Online Survey, conducted twice yearly.

While he would not disclose actual figures for each of the ISPs listed in the December report, Tolputt said Optus’ move into the second top position has been primarily driven by the high satisfaction levels of its customer base.

“According to our most recent online survey, Optus has consistently achieved high ratings with ISP, satisfaction with technical support, customer service, customer contact and help desk call holding times,” he said. “All these metrics show Optus customers are more satisfied than either OzEmail or BigPond.”

Tolputt said Optus has also been comparatively active in terms of marketing, which has increased customer awareness about its products.

Meanwhile, hoping to entice dial-up users to transfer across to its broadband offerings, OzEmail has announced a new 256k 400MB entry-level broadband service, as well as increased the download capacity of its existing 500MB plan.

The new 400MB plan, priced at $48.95 per month, is now available to users in mainland metropolitan areas throughout Australia. Availability to non-metro areas will be dependent on the service uptake rate, said OzEmail spokesperson David Bathur.

OzEmail has also bumped up the download capacity across its 256k 500MB plan, giving users an additional 150MB download capacity per month for no additional cost. The plan is valued at $59.95.

Bathur said OzEmail has no current plans to modify any of its higher-level broadband plans.

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