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Harvey Norman Set To Be Hit By Optus Crash

Harvey Norman is set to be hit because of their close association with Optus, whose customers are already flocking to archrival carriers Vodafone and Telstra whose services are sold by archrival JB Hi Fi following yesterday’s Optus network crash.

Already struggling from a 13.9% fall in revenue across their franchised stores in Australia, and plunging profits, Harvey Norman is facing the real possibility of losing thousands of mobile and broadband customers who were signed on to the Optus network via a Harvey Norman store, after more than 10 million customers were affected across the country when the Optus network crashed, leaving people without phone service or access to the internet for at least nine hours.

Desperate to compete with JB Hi Fi, who operates on the Telstra network and are the biggest retailer of mobile phones in Australia, Harvey Norman cut a deal with Optus back in 2019 in an effort to get into the mobile smartphone market.

The move has given them a small share of the retail market for mobile phones with their retiree and older target audience primarily buying cheap Chinese handsets despite heavy promotions for Apple and Samsung products. The lion’s share of the premium market is going to Telstra and JB Hi Fi according to retail analysts.

Optus executives have declared the telco will not refund customers for one of the worst telecommunications outages in Australian history because most would get “less than $2” and instead it will “reward” the patience and loyalty of those who do not leave the company.

Speculation today is that Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin is set to be dumped by Singapore Telecom who own Optus, with executives from the Asian based Company getting a firsthand experience of the incident, as they were in Australia this week as the drama unfolded.

Rosmarin doesn’t recall the exact time she headed into the office yesterday with one media organisation claiming that it appears that a photo shoot at her Vaucluse mansion was the key item on her agenda yesterday as the drama unfolded.

“I don’t remember. It’s been a long day,” she told the AFR’s Chanticleer late last night.

The Federal Government claims they will launch a review into the Optus network outage which left millions of customers without phone or internet access on Wednesday.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland confirmed the review this morning however there has been no mention of any form of Federal Government assisted backup network for all carriers in the event of an emergency.

“Connectivity is absolutely essential for consumers and business and the impacts of this outage were particularly concerning,” the minister said in a statement.

“While we welcome that Optus services are now restored, it is critical the government conducts a process to identify lessons to be learned.

“I will task my department with developing the terms of reference for a post incident review, further announcements around the terms of reference and next steps will be made in due course.”

At one stage yesterday Rowland was pleading with Optus to give its customers more information.

Questions are also being raised about the future of Communication management at Optus with observers claiming it was a “total debacle” as the drama unfolded with several observers questioning the Companies communication strategies.

Both Communications Minister Rowland and Telecommunications Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert claimed that they first heard about the outage via the media.

After last year’s hack, you’d think Optus would be well-versed in crisis management. But if lessons had been learned on that score, it wasn’t evident on Wednesday said the AFR.

Questions are also being asked as to whether work from home policies, being adopted by Optus management, played a role as most communication executives working from home were unable to use their mobile phones.

One insider told ChannelNews that they had to resort to buying Telstra SIMS to communicate.

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