All brand new: an amaysim experience down under

While the 'down under' stigma still holds in parts of Europe, Australia is a good place to do business

The amaysim founders make a fresh start in Australia. Peter O'Connell (left) and Rolf Hansen (seated).

The amaysim founders make a fresh start in Australia. Peter O'Connell (left) and Rolf Hansen (seated).

A group of European entrepreneurs have banded together to create a new mobile telecommunications company aimed at the high-volume consumer market, and it even has a local call centre.

In addition to a play on “simply amazing”, amaysim is, according to founder and CEO, Rolf Hansen, Australia’s first low-cost mobile service provider.

Amaysim might not win any awards for originality – there are plenty of 'low-cost' mobile resellers around – but it surely deserves credit for its agile use of third-party services in away that should make any CIO proud.

In Hansen’s words, the company has the low-cost airline model “without the crap” of additional fees and charges.

Amaysim resells the Optus 3G mobile network, but its strategy centres around low-cost, transparency and customer service.

Hansen said the amaysim brand encompasses four tenants: Empathy, agility, simplicity and reliability.

“The brand should be ‘simply amazing’ and our challenge is to keep up customer expectations,” he said.

The concept is much the same as the entrepreneurs’ European venture Simyo ( which was bought out by big telco KPN.

And the four Simyo founders: Hansen, Thomas S Enge (CFO), Christian Magel (CMO) and Andreas Perreiter (COO), have all moved Down Under for their latest mobile service venture, after being lured by former Optus executive, Peter O’Connell.

The key components of amaysim go something like this:

  • Branding and strategy (local, inspired in Europe)
  • Head office (Sydney)
  • Call centre in Chatswood (Sydney)
  • Web development (Sydney)
  • Hosting (local)
  • Marketing development (local)

Speaking at the launch event, Hansen said that the development contractors worked with the in-house IT team and the call centre workers are treated as company staff, not battery hens.

“Providing local customer service might not be the cheapest option, but it’s better,” he said. “The Philippines and India are great countries, but will your customers get better support from an offshore call centre?”

I asked Hansen what it was like starting a potentially global brand Down Under. He said while the 'Down Under' stigma still holds in parts of Europe, Australia is a good place to do business.

“You guys were not impacted as much by the GFC and are on top of the business world.”

Australians spend about twice as much per capita than the Germans on mobile services and amaysim aims to bring more competition into the market, he said.

Incidentally, the company amaysim engaged with for marketing services is BMF. With offices in Sydney and Melbourne, its slogan is 'a world class agency that happens to be in Australia'.

Hothouse in Sydney was contracted to develop the Web and e-commerce site, which Hansen says is the most crucial channel for new sales and after-sales service like top-ups.

As a reporter, it’s not my role to drum up the virtues of doing business Down Under, but as an IT observer I can’t help but be perplexed at the level of outsourcing and offshoring among local large enterprises for key parts of their operations.

Amaysim is the other extreme where foreign business people have started a business here using local third-parties for different service – a form of local 'selective sourcing'.

Amaysim has 32 office staff with plans to go to 50 and 42 people in its local call centre.

Hansen said amaysim will now get its name out there via an integrated marketing campaign across television, some 860 public buses and at 14,000 point-of-sale locations, including Woolworths and Coles group retail outlets.

“We will spend double digit millions every year on marketing because it’s important to build the brand,” he said.

TV commercials will run on channels 9 and 10 until the New Year.

Strategy, branding, technology, sourcing and marketing – the immigrant amaysim has rolled them all into one. Let’s hope more local companies take a leaf out this global entrepreneurial playbook.

Rodney Gedda is Editor of TechWorld Australia. Follow Rodney on Twitter at @rodneygedda. Rodney's e-mail address is Follow TechWorld Australia on Twitter at @Techworld_AU.

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