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AU Mobile Operator Optus Blocking Paid Android Apps 102

Posted by kdawson
from the life-without-net-neutrality dept.
APC Magazine details how Optus, an Australian mobile phone operator, has for months been deliberately blocking access to Android paid apps. "Optus is the exclusive Australian mobile carrier for the HTC Dream and Samsung Galaxy Android phones, and yet people who signed a long-term contract for these phones have to date been blocked from buying paid Android apps and getting the full Android experience. ... APC found many angry and frustrated comments on the Whirlpool community forums by Optus & Virgin Mobile customers." The article speculates, reading between the lines of the opaque comments offered by both Optus and Google, that the carrier is "demanding a cut of the sales revenue from Android apps if it is to remove its restriction on accessing them."
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AU Mobile Operator Optus Blocking Paid Android Apps

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  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:26AM (#30294838)

    It was created by a knave of a Federal Government who thought they could introduce competition into the Australian Telecommunications market (then controlled by Telstra aka Telecom) by regulating to introduce just *one* competitor: Optus. The idea was that Telstra and Optus would fight each other with lower prices and better service. Instead both just sat on their hands and a monopoly became a cozy duopoly. Even though the market was opened up, these two fat, lazy and arrogant companies still dominate the market.

    Optus has been a terrible teleco ever since inception. Its broadband packages are amongst the worst in the country. It's offerings are overpriced and plagued with poor service. They're arrogant to boot: Whenever they do screw up their PR is terrible. They're unethical too (which is to say they're criminal, but being a big company with good lawyers mean you can break the law with a slap on the wrist at worst case).

    Like this one: Incredible, but Optus conspired to have phone sex calls made by aussies to International Numbers *diverted to their own phone sex partner!* That's right, when you saw Hot Monica advertizing at 2AM on Channel 10 and called, your call was diverted from the advertizer and ended up fattening Optus's profits. Sounds as illegal as hell. Yes: This is Australia's #2 Teleco:

    "In an earlier case, Justice Robert McDougall was much harsher with Bragg, saying he had no regard for the truth, except for when it suited him. In this case Optus was forced to pay millions to Gilsan after it was found to have skimmed money from Gilsan by under-reporting the number of minutes porn clients were on the phone so Optus could take home a larger share of the profits."

    http://groups.google.com/group/comp.dcom.telecom/browse_thread/thread/37a2629cd46244a0 [google.com]
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/articles/2009/01/05/1231003882552.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 [brisbanetimes.com.au]
    http://www.the-scream.co.uk/forums/t28492.html [the-scream.co.uk]

    Google for "optus sucks" and equally "telsta sucks" and you will see many links.

  • 30% fee on apps (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rasperin (1034758) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:42AM (#30294892)
    Wait one freaking minute! That 30% google is so kindly taking off each one of my sales was supposed to go back to the telecommunication company anyways to "pay for the bandwidth required to supply my app".
  • Is that legal? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:57AM (#30294950)

    I can only assume that to block access to paid apps requires blocking part of the internet, which would put them in violation of trade description act. It might also impute denial of them being a common carrier, with loss of the protections that that confers.
    -- newall

  • by Purist (716624) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:23AM (#30295640)
    IMO, the iPhone app store is probably the single biggest innovation of the iPhone...and it's not even a technological innovation so much as an assertion that things should be done the right way for a change. Here in the states as well as abroad, Apple used its power to strong arm their cellular partners into acting the way they should act - as an INFRASTRUCTURE provider.

    Cellular companies have always been very short sighted about their role with respect to applications at the end point. They would push crappy applications (cellular companies don't know how to develop mobile applications!) to the device via tightly regulated network access and the result was a horrible customer experience. Thanks to the iPhone app store, those days are coming to and end. The fact that Verizon (historically one of the WORST culprits) here in the U.S. is allowing unfettered access to Android Market is indicative of this fact.

    M
  • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:41AM (#30296058) Homepage
    That was my first thought (from Malaysia, I can't even get access to free apps on the Android Marketplace - which I consider downright EVIL of Google), but Australia is listed [google.com] as one of the few countries where paid apps are available.
  • Re:Seriously, WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:58AM (#30296184)
    Take issue with this kind of behaviour and actively seek help from institutions such as th ACCC and the telecommunications ombudsman.

    Unless you've been living in a barrel, you will be aware that it has been widely reported that both have received countless complaints against the telcos.

    Have those bodies done anything about them?

    No. Neither body has sufficient teeth to do so, and the Government has not lifted a finger to change that.

    I don't believe this opinion qualifies as arrogance or autism. Try a dictionary.

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