Boost founder slams Oz carriers over 5G

Credit: Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile founder and director Peter Adderton has slammed local carriers over their rush to 5G, asserting that past promises they made around today’s 4G infrastructure remain unfulfilled.

Speaking to Australian media earlier this week, Adderton lived up to his reputation for being outspoken about his competition.

“These guys make me laugh. They’re telling us about autonomous cars. Yet, they can’t carry a phone call from my home to my school where my kids are without it dropping out three times,” he said.

“If you ask the average Australian would you prefer to have the 4G work absolutely everywhere or would you prefer lightning fast speed so that they can download movies in five thousand movies in six seconds. What would you prefer? What would their answer be? I’d like to have 4G everywhere.”

Adderton founded the youth-oriented MVNO Boost Mobile in 2000. He remains director of the brand’s Australian branch, which operates atop the Telstra network.

Adderton questions the realistic need of customers to have the higher speeds that 5G is expected to be capable of. When it arrives, 5G is expected to offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than current 4G networks.

Credit: Boost Mobile

“How fast is fast? I mean, at some point, it’s like 4K. You have a 6K TV but your eyes can’t see 6K. Your eyes can barely see 4K.”

When asked about Optus’ efforts to invest in exclusive content to woo new subscribers,and specifically their handling of this year’s World Cup, Adderton wasn’t impressed.

“I think that’s stupidity - going and spending all that money on one sport. What you’ve got to do is offer up a la carte services.”

“If we’ve got a youth customer on Boost, there are maybe twenty shows they’re interested in on Netflix and twenty shows they’re interested in on Foxtel. The problem is that the cable guys don’t like a la carte. They like to bundle, right? So you’re paying for cable channels that you don’t want but that’s how they make their model that’s how they drive it,.”

“There’s a massive shift going on in the industry today. And if you look at what’s happening in America, Verizon’s decided they want to be the best network. They’ve pretty much said we’re going to be a commodity but we’re going to be the best commodity. AT&T has said they’re going to buy up Time-Warner, so we’re going to bring you Game of Thrones and all the different content.”

Upon elaboration, it’s clear that Adderton isn’t optimistic about the merger between AT&T and Time-Warner.

He says “I think that’s an unhappy marriage. It’s a forced-marriage. It’s an arranged marriage. These are two businesses that are sucking. And you bring these two businesses together and you think that they’re not going to suck as much. It doesn’t work. It’s the same people.”

Both within Australia and abroad, Adderton says that it's a time of change for mobile carriers that goes beyond just adopting the latest technologies.

“Everyone’s doing it differently. But they’re all doing something different because they know that just staying the same is a dead-end business model. So they’re all trying to do different."

"As I said, some are going to be merging with media content, some are going to get into cloud services, some are going to expand themselves beyond [that], some are going to say ‘we’re just going to be the best network’ and enable all the OTT players and we’ll work out different business models as we go along. But only one of them can be right. Someone’s going to be dead-wrong.”

Credit: Boost Mobile

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Fergus Halliday
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