When it comes to fighting business out in court there is very little that ever happens with great speed. Wholesale mobile provider ispONE last week took Telstra to court and while they’ve had a small win, the battle continues and that leaves Kogan Mobile and Aldi Mobile customers nervously awaiting news on the future of their mobile service.
As of today, Kogan Mobile users are no longer able to recharge their mobile phone accounts with the 90 day and 365 day offers which have been available since the launch of Kogan Mobile last year.
This comes amid the lingering Federal Court case in which ispONE sought an injunction against Telstra who were attempting to close ispONE down due to millions of dollars of unpaid bills.
UPDATE: Kogan Mobile is no longer accepting new customers after ispONE today was placed into voluntary Administration.
Details on the update for ispONE and Telstra are at the end of this article – original story continues below:
ispONE had a small win last week, after being forced into mediation where Kogan, Aldi, Telstra and ispONE sat down together, ispONE’s injunction was granted with a court date still to be set to settle proceedings formally.
However, Telstra is appealing that injunction to the full bench of the Federal Court which will likely give a decision tomorrow.
So, where does that leave customers? Ruslan Kogan has told EFTM he is “not comfortable offering 90 and 365 day recharges while these matters are subject to a Federal Court dispute between Telstra and ispONE“.
This does not mean Kogan Mobile is expecting a negative outcome for its future in this space, it is more a case of taking a customer focussed approach, with Kogan keen to look after the customer relationship they have with over 115,000 Aussies.
Aldi are yet to comment on this matter, however they were present at the Federal Court mediation last week.
Should the Federal Court find in Telstra’s favour, and ispONE is forced to shut down, the worst case outcome EFTM expects for customers of Aldi and Kogan mobile is they get a refund for any days they have pre-paid at the point where this all ends for ispONE, however, it is also likely that both Kogan and Aldi are working with Telstra to ensure some service can be maintained for existing customers for the duration of their pre-payment allowing everyone time to find a new carrier without a loss of service. Telstra may be unhappy with ispONE but they aren’t so crazy that they want 200,000 customers marching in the streets against them and the action they take.
Either day, if ispONE loses in the long run, there is little or no chance of Aldi and Kogan continuing to provide mobile services on the Telstra network. Any shift to another network will also mean all new SIM cards for customers and a lot of headaches for both customers and the companies involved.
The next few days are crucial for ispONE, Kogan, Aldi – and of course, (the staff, and) customers of those companies.
The following statement from Telstra was obtained from online forum Whirlpool:
Telstra Wholesale has been advised that ispONE has appointed Ferrier Hodgson as a voluntary administrator and the administrator has cancelled ispONE’s contracts for the supply of Telstra Wholesale pre-paid mobile products.
Telstra Wholesale has entered into an interim agreement with Medion Australia for the supply of wholesale prepaid mobile services. Medion is the supplier to ALDIMobile.
ispONE had been a customer of Telstra Wholesale for mobile products as well as a broadband and a relatively small number of fixed line voice products. ispONE on-sold these products and services to retailers and in some instances to the public. For example, ispONE supplied two companies, the online retailer Kogan and Medion (who sells mobile service through the ALDIMobile brand), utilising the Telstra Wholesale pre-paid mobile product.
Telstra Wholesale Group Managing Director, Stuart Lee, confirmed that given the relationship with ispONE for pre-paid mobile services had ended, Telstra would not be accepting any requests for new Kogan Mobile services from ispONE, although people with existing services would have the opportunity to switch to other providers.
“For mobiles, we will not be accepting new activations, number port-ins or processing credit recharges from ispONE on behalf of Kogan Mobile. An interim service will be available for a fixed period of time for people who have active pre-paid mobile services from Kogan Mobile so they have time to choose their next steps,” said Mr Lee.
“Because Medion and Telstra Wholesale have been able to negotiate a direct supply agreement there will be no changes to the services for ALDI Mobile.
People who have services through ispONE and its retail partners, such as Kogan Mobile, are not customers of Telstra.
“We do not have their account information and we cannot provide them any customer service support. For any questions about their service, people should contact their retail service provider,” said Mr Lee.
There are limits to the industry’s capacity to implement mobile number porting requests and requests to churn fixed line voice and broadband services. If large numbers of people try to switch providers at once there may be some delays across the industry.
“People who want to change providers should approach their service provider of choice who can request the number port, but we would ask for patience as there are limits on how many ports the industry can undertake in addition to normal sales and activation activity. To provide for a smooth transition we are providing interim voice services across the impacted mobile and fixed line services.”