Tuesday 31 January 2023

Optus' Living Network

Optus launched their Living Network in May 2021 and its certainly a most innovative venture. Unlike previous networks, this was described as an evolved network. Designed to be dynamic and 'customer-centric' to suit the unique needs of each customer by offering a range of service features and initiatives in areas such as advanced connectivity, security, productivity, environmental sustainability and social causes.


The Living Network features are available to Optus customers from the MyOptus App and include Unlimited Data Days, Donate Your Data, Optus Pause, WiFi Secure, Game Path, Call Translate, Call Notes, Optus Pulse and SideKick. Optus has also categorised it’s Living Network features by Digital Wellbeing, Adaptive Network and Advanced Voice.

One aspect of Digital Wellbeing is closing the digital divide and promoting sustainability. Donate your data is a way to help close the digital divide for people in need get a prepaid SIM with data plus unlimited calls and SMS every 42 days. Every month, Optus data donations are pooled and then distributed as an added data boost to those who need it. Optus postpaid customers can donate a portion of their monthly data via the MyOptus App. Prepay customers on select tariffs can also donate a portion of their data. The operator has partnered with a number of charities to deliver this service to people experiencing economic hardship from a job loss, family or other tragedy.

Optus claim over 28 million GB of data has been donated since December 2019. The donated data helps individuals (and since 2021) helps families in need to access vital education, employment, and other services.

At the launch of the Living Network Optus CEO, Kelly Bayer stated that the program had so far assisted over “14,000 young Australians in need” and attributed the initiative to achieving an NPS that was “off the charts” highlighting that customers felt empowered by the Living Network to shrink the digital divide and make a difference to others lives.


Meanwhile an inventive aspect of the Adaptive Network is Game Path. This service reduces lag by 30% (as well as jitter by an average 71%) when gaming by accessing multiple local and international points of presence (POPs) and using AI to select the optimal connection path however, manual server selection is also possible. The service which is activated via the MyOptus app is only available on windows PCs and costs AUD $10 per month with one-month waiver. Optus internet gamers may receive a three-month waiver. Optus provides a table highlighting the performance improvement customers can expect by game and city based on a sample size (gaming session snapshot) in time but highlight actual performance may still vary.

A feature that enhances customer productivity within the Advanced voice services is Optus Call Translate. This translates voice calls in real-time between two people speaking two different languages to each other. Effectively and as promoted by Optus, the service is “turning two languages into one conversation”. The service is currently available in 19 languages and is built, owned and operated by Optus using Google Cloud (API) for the translation element. While the service was initially trailed in a beta mode with select customers, it is now available to postpay customers (including business) at a cost of AUD $5 per month with a seven-day trial period. The service is activated from the My Optus App along with translation settings such as the “to” and “from” language setting. When a customer calls a number using the translate feature, before the call conversation starts – both parties will hear an announcement saying that the Call Translate is in use. Optus customers can use the service to call overseas, and they can also use it abroad so long as they are roaming on a VoLTE network.

In highlighting the usefulness of the service, Optus points to the multi-lingual country and five million people (20% of Australians) of which English isn’t their first language. Such a service might be valuable when interacting with others to perform everyday functions such as booking a medical appointment.

Other operators have certainly been inspired some of these services and strategies and also launched some of the features seen in the Living Network, in particular drawing on the environment, sustainability and social responsibility as a way to increase relevance, drive an emotional connection and  increase engagement with existing customers and potentially augment their subscriber bases.

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