As criticism of its 3G service mounts, Optus has quietly ditched the 3G wireless version of its Fusion broadband and telephony plans.
The Wireless Fusion plans, launched in August, offered a combined 3G broadband service as well unlimited calls to landlines and Optus mobiles. Pricing started from $79 for a 2GB broadband capacity cap. (Like Telstra, Optus includes both uploads and downloads in those figures.)
While Optus had heavily promoted the service, it has been dropped after less than a month on the market. The list of Fusion bundles
featured on Optus' main site still promotes the landline Fusion plans, which were launched in 2007, but makes no mention of the wireless option.
An Optus spokesperson confirmed that the Fusion product had been withdrawn from sale on September 10, and said that the removal was "to ensure that we deliver an optimal service to our customers". Optus is describing the change as a "suspension", but there's no public timeframe for re-offering the product to new buyers. (Confusingly, the official Fusion site
still includes a link to the wireless version of the service.)
A likely factor in the removal of the Wireless Fusion bundle is the increasing demand on Optus' 3G network, which seems to be buckling under the pressure of a new pool of iPhone users (from both Optus itself and Optus-owned Virgin) and various network management problems.
In the October issue of APC, on sale now, an analysis of 3G broadband plans found that Optus performs particularly poorly. We even captured some of the 3G testing on video
. And earlier this week, we reported that Optus' 3G service had been ranked the slowest in the world for iPhone users
and the company has suffered from numerous other quality control problems on its network .