Optus won the mobile network sponsorship battle on the track, and now they’re keeping the battle going with lawyers at ten paces up against Boost Mobile days after the race ended.
Not quite the rivalry you might expect really is it? Optus, one of three Australian mobile network operators, sending a legal letter to Boost Mobile, a non-network brand operating on the Telstra mobile network.
Here’s what’s happening.
Chaz Mostert Won the Bathurst 1000 with his Appliances Online and OPTUS sponsorship front and centre. In third and on the all-important podium was the young Brodie Kostecki who is sponsored by Boost Mobile.
For context, Boost Mobile’s founder Peter Adderton is one of the most vocal sponsors of Supercars you’ll ever meet. His social media this year has been 40% Supercars, 40% Covid-19 Frustration and 20% about his thriving Mobile businesses in Australia and the USA. Ok, I might be exaggerating – but you get my point. This is a man passionate about anything he gets involved in.
As part of his two-car and multi-driver sponsorship at the Bathurst 1000 race, Boost Mobile had what you might call an “activation” in the Paddock at the mountain, one of those little kiosks where you might get handed flyers, stickers, posters, and the team handing out stuff might try the odd bit of up-sell to get you to consider switching to the Boost Mobile network for your phone.
Now in considering what happens next, it’s important to know Boost’s biggest and most important selling point. They use the entire Telstra Mobile Network. Some smaller carriers on the Telstra network use “part” of the Telstra network, and while that’s rarely been defined in any way, nor would 99.9% of people notice – but that’s beside the point. It’s an important advantage the Boost mobile has, and they wear that badge with pride.
So picture this. A couple of people walk into the Boost Mobile booth at Bathurst. “During their engagement with Boost Mobile representatives at the booth” – I’m quoting from the letter Optus legal representatives have sent to Boost Mobile – those representatives stated words to the effect that “Telstra’s coverage is four times more than Optus”.
Well, those couple of people were in fact Optus Managers. Sly buggers, doing a bit of the old secret shopping huh!
So, Optus, represented by “ashurst” lawyers, sends a two page, 8 point very wordy legal letter to Boost Mobile, outlining that such claims are factually incorrect.
They go on to make ti very clear that in fact Population coverage is far more important that Geographic coverage
None of this is shits and giggles for Optus, they’re pissed. Those managers went running to their bosses, and well – they want Boost to understand how important this is. And they’re right, you can’t advertise something that’s not true.
And they want that acknowledged, in writing:
Given Boost Founder Peter Adderton’s social media responses to this letter, I doubt the response will be all that comprehensive.
EFTM asked Peter Adderton directly if he felt the Telstra (Boost) network was four times bigger than Optus. He said “Clearly the answer is No…anyone with half an idea in telco in Australia knows this which is why it’s ludicrous to suggest a seasoned Boost staff employee would say this or instruct anyone to.”
Deep down, he’s pretty angry about it. “It’s about geographic vs population…and they are promo staff not Boost full time staff”
He says he’s never heard those claims being made by any promo staff or Boost full-time staff – and goes on to say there’s no evidence presented that the claims were ever made, saying “there is no details on who said it nor have we ever printed it”
Quite simply, he says “They are scratching at straws”
Boost staff report to Adderton that “staff are briefed on what to say they said no one said this. We are clear on our messaging. The fact they don’t name anyone when they could have simply asked the Boost promo person their name is clear they have nothing”.
And he makes a point – if you were the Optus Manager, wouldn’t you ask the name of the person making that claim, as some way of substantiating it?
Adderton’s pretty frustrated Optus are taking their network anger out on young promo staff saying “Sad Optus attacks them – they are young promo staff, kids”
We asked Optus for a comment on the legal stoush, they told EFTM “Boost doesn’t have a network, and relies on Telstra’s network. Telstra’s network covers 99.4% of the Australian population and Optus’s network covers 98.5% of the Australian population.”
“Boost coverage claims of ‘4x the coverage’ are simply untrue. “
“The Boost team should focus on making correct statements that don’t mislead customers.”
Them’s fighting words, and if you know Peter Adderton, this won’t be the last we hear of it.