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Optus Punts On Harvey Norman In Connected Home Battle With JB Hi Fi

Speculation is mounting that a new battle is set to break out between Optus who are aligned with Harvey Norman, and Telstra who have a highly productive partnership with JB Hi Fi.

The move comes as retailers such as Officeworks and Bunning expand their connected home offerings.

According to sources, Optus became concerned at the amount of mobile business that is being written by JB Hi Fi and are now working extensively to broaden sales of Optus connectivity at Harvey Norman which is tipped to include SmartHouse connectivity and the sale of connected home products that can be added to an Optus bill.

One key growth market is tipped to be 5G and the opening up of 5G antennas for both business and homes in Australia.

ChannelNews understands that Harvey Norman is set to launch communication “Experience stores” in partnership with Optus in an effort to take on JB Hi Fi.

We have also been told that one major brand is currently trialling two Harvey Norman stores for their range of security cameras.

Several brands including  have been put under none Disclosure Agreements by Optus.

Recently Nokia deployed Australia’s first integrated 5G antenna in partnership with Optus, utilising its Interleaved Passive Active Antenna (IPAA) capability.

“We’re committed to keeping our customers connected and at the forefront of 5G,” said Lambo Kanagaratnam, managing director of networks at Optus. “By partnering with global technology leaders like Nokia, we continue to bring the best global innovations to our customers.”

Nokia signed a five-year network managed services outsourcing deal with Optus in 2018, which sees Nokia manage and maintain key components of the telco’s network infrastructure, operations, and field maintenance.

At this stage Optus management has not commented.

One source told ChannelNews “Optus are concerned as to the volume of mobile and 5G business that is now being written by retailers such as JB Hi Fi. They are currently working on a major retail program with Harvey Norman to not only sell more mobile connectivity but 5G hubs and devices that attach to a network such as security cameras” they said.

“Consumers and business owners will be able to buy a connection product and it will be billed on their monthly Optus account” they said.

Recently Bunnings who have had a lot of success with their connected home products has moved to break out their connected home offering into its own category with brands telling ChannelNews that they have had a “Lot of success at Bunnings.”.

ChannelNews understands that Telstra is set to launch new products in the September October period with the big carrier set to cut a large percentage of their current retail offering.
Key to Telstra’s offering is the acquisition of new 5G spectrum.

Recently Australia concluded the first of two spectrum auctions scheduled for 2021The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) made available high range 2.4 GHz of spectrum in the 26 GHz band in 27 geographic regions across Australia.

Five bidders secured licences in the auction, raising a total of AU$647.64 million, with Telstra, Optus and TPG Telecom all taking significant allocations of spectrum.

The largest bidder was Telstra who paid out $276 million, Optus paid $226 million for spectrum.

“This outcome represents another significant milestone for 5G in Australia. The successful allocation of this spectrum will support high-speed communications services in metropolitan cities and major regional centres throughout Australia,” said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

Licences won at auction will come into force later this year, for a 15-year term ending in 2036. The second auction, scheduled for later this year, will see the government allocate low band 5G spectrum – 850/900 MHz band – to extend geographic coverage.

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