It will be important to know if Kogan or Vodafone, provides first-line services like billing and support.
Kogan reportedly said at CES 2018, “There’s a big focus on the customer service side of things, which our team’s building at the moment, because one of the worst feedback areas about current NBN providers has been people don’t know is it connected, when’s it getting connected, who’s coming when, what sort of service to get, what the speeds are; that element of the customer service, our team, is working on at the moment to ensure there’s very clear communication, and the marketing side of it is spot on.”
It is unlikely Kogan as a third-party reseller has the direct NBN software links or 24/7 infrastructure to support NBN users directly.
Kogan has undercut Vodafone’s no lock-in plans
Kogan per month
Vodafone per month
$58.90 plus $69 unspecified ‘modem’ all plans
$59 plus $150 Wi-Fi AC gateway all plans
$68.90 (introductory price of $58.90 if you commit to 24 months)
Note that there is no mention of fixed land-line availability nor details on traditional phone call costs, email boxes, contention ratios, etc.
GadgetGuy’s take – Organ grinder, not the monkey
According to Australian consumer law the ‘retailer’ you buy the goods or services from has complete responsibility to honour warranties, guarantees and service level provisions. That is Kogan, not Vodafone.
If you have a fault (and you likely will) do you report it to Kogan? They in turn report it to Vodafone; that in turn uses its NBN infrastructure to determine if the fault lies with the NBN (up to the FTTN, FTTB or FTTP); or in the last mile (Vodafone); or indeed Kogan (payment system and modem).
Adding in Vodafone as a middle-man only complicates things. And if Kogan does the billing that opens a huge can of worms as you pay Kogan and rely on it paying Vodafone.
It is the same as any third-party becoming an MVNO mobile virtual network operator. MVNOs are famous for walking away when it gets tough.
All we are saying is that the announcement is short on detail and responsibilities. If Vodafone does provide the billing and support and pays Kogan a commission, then it may be OK. If not avoid third-party pseudo Telcos of any type.
It’s very much within the classic Kogan pattern to launch a budget-centric relabelled product. In fact, given that’s what it already does for everything from insurance to mobile calls. All the service and support will (if Kogan’s earlier statements are correct) be run through Vodafone, so as long as consumers are happy with that, they shouldn’t see much of a service difference.
Where there are notes of caution, they are ones that apply to Vodafone’s NBN services as well, because it’s initially launched in select markets — Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong, Newcastle and Wollongong at launch, with Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Tasmania due to come on-line in April. Kogan is using Vodafone’s services and mirroring availability where Vodafone has it, which means some consumers won’t be able to access services even if they’re in an NBN-ready area.
What’s in it for you?
You may save a few dollars a month. With such a volatile product as NBN, we must ask is it worth it?
What’s in it for Vodafone?
Pure brand extension and the ability to sell more Vodafone services to Kogan’s clients.
What’s in it for Kogan?
Presumably the ability to sell more Kogan goods and services to an increased target market. That’s mobile, travel, insurance, health insurance, home appliances, IT, furniture, books and more.