Why Has AGL Got Into Bed With Optus After Accusing Them of Of ‘Deceptive Conduct’ and ‘Negligent Misrepresentation’ In The Past
AGL is having another crack at trying to get into the telecommunication market by cuddling up to Optus, the same Company they acted against for “deceptive and negligent” conduct and won more than two decades ago and at the height of the dotcom bubble, when AGL acquired the Dingo Blue mobile phone business.
Last week AGL who is the same energy supplier slugging consumers during COVID with $12 late fees even on bills of less than $300 was jumping up and down about their second attempt at trying to have a crack at the mobile phone market despite having failed dismally in the past.
Back in 2003 Optus had to pay $23 million to energy producer Australian Gas Light to settle a dispute about the handover of the failed telecom Dingo Blue business back in 2000.
AGL took Optus to court demanding $85 million from Optus, for “breach of warranty in the sale and purchase agreement. AGL management claimed at the time that Optus management had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and negligent misrepresentations”.
Australian Stock Exchange filings reveal that Optus’s parent, Singapore Telecommunications launched a counterclaim, seeking $8 million for “breach of its [AGL’s] GSM service provider agreement”.
“Optus and AGL ended up settling both the claim and the cross claim with a payment of $23 million by Optus to AGL.
According to a Singapore Telecom press release at the time the settlement offsets the $22 million AGL paid Optus, Australia’s second biggest telecom, for Dingo Blue in December 2000.
After pouring more than $55M into the Dingo Blue business AGL, which failed in the mobile market because consumers were not interested in buying a mobile phone through an energy supplier, ended up writing off the business for $42.4M.
AGL closed down the local and long-distance telephone and internet businesses of Dingo Blue within weeks of its March 2002 decision to exit the mobile market.
But it kept Dingo Blue’s mobile phone unit operating because of details related to the outstanding action with Optus.
Last week AGL launched itself as a mobile virtual network operator on the Optus network, the decision came after the energy supplier stared offering their customers. NBN broadband coverage.
AGL Mobile, is only available on the Optus 3G and 4G networks. AGL customers will not have access to 5G, which makes buying a mobile service from AGL questionable claims some analysts.
“5G is going to be available on sub $300 smartphones by the end of the year so who would consumers sign up to a limited 3G or 4G network”.
Christine Corbett AGL’s chief customer officer claims the energy supplier wants a greater slice of customers’ utilities, by becoming “the one place you can come for your home energy, internet and now, mobile services.”
“AGL customers will soon be able to manage their essential services through the AGL app, making it easy to monitor energy and data usage and pay bills,” she added.