Optus Primed For Backlash, Blocking Paid Apps


Much of Android’s beauty is based on the Android Market. Everything from teeny little free apps made by some dude next door to full-fledged software solutions and in-depth games all available starting at free and working your way up. Unless you’re an Optus customer – then the applications you can download start and end at free: you cannot view/purchase paid apps on Android Market if you are an Optus customer.


When Android Phones first roll out in many areas it is a 2-step process: first free apps, then paid apps. This likely helps troubleshoot, get currency situations in line and just makes sure thing go smoothly before getting in over their heads.

But customers have been asking when Paid Apps will be available in Australia since July. Well… they are available now, just not to Optus customers. Folks who have tested a Telus SIM card have reported that they can access Paid Apps in Australia perfectly fine and that Optus is actually blocking its customers from accessing the goods.

If you’re an Optus customer who is stuck in a contract and are upset at the inability to purchase/download paid apps you have a couple options:

  1. Insert a different SIM card, connect to Wi-Fi and purchase/download apps that way.
  2. Root your phone and use Market Enabler

Rumor has it that Optus is doing this to demand a cut of the purchased applications from Google and they could even be creating their own application store based on Android Market. Who knows… but they better figure something out before this news circulates a bit more and the inevitable mass backlash begins.

Optus should look at their name and realize its all about offering the user an optimal experience – why purposefully take away capabilities that your customers already have? I hope these folks learn their lesson… even if its the hard way.

[Via APCMag, Giz, Thanks Todd]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. I thought the networks already got a cut of the purchased applications from google’s 30%?

  2. Why should they get a cut? You pay for the data plan, that is their cut. My ISP doesn’t get a cut from Steam if I buy a game and they don’t get a cut from Amazon if I buy an item. It’s a ridiculous case of wanting to double dip.

  3. Just another prime example of ripoff Australia. Thanks for this as I was looking at ditching Vodafone for another carrier. Optus is no longer an option.

  4. Ummm, there’s no paid apps in Canada. How come that didn’t get an article.

  5. Optus’ network is shit here anyway. HTC Magic on Vodafone going very nicely for me. The only better carrier is Telstra, but damn you pay for it.

  6. I thought they blocked paid apps because they didn’t want to have to provide support for people who didn’t know what they were doing are were angry because they wasted money on a paid app or something like that.

    Doesn’t matter, with the release of the ACER A1 Liquid (supporting HSDPA 850) everyone can use android on telstra which has a superior 3(.5)G network anyway :)

  7. I really hope they change this plan. Otherwise I WILL be moving to another carrier. It is a pity, I dont mind optus otherwise.

  8. i’ll be switching away from optus if this continues

  9. I think the real reason could be that the optus network may not be secure enough to handle android market transactions.

  10. Optus has been jacking up the call and SMS charges SIGNIFICANTLY recently anyway, and I was thinking of switching to virgin instead. This simply confirms that such a move makes sense. Optus has also been jerking people around with broadband too, and decreased the uncapped bandwidth.

    So this is a good thing, to encourage people to move away from optus, and show them that they need to stop mistreating customers.

  11. sooo… optus is australian for verizon? yes i know they didnt pull this particular little stunt, but they are still about the worst US carrier when it comes to giving the customer what they want. highest price, lowest value for the dollar.

  12. “Rumor has it that Optus is doing this to demand a cut of the purchased applications from Google.” As Google has said numerous times, the 30% for paid application does NOT go to Google, but the carrier.


  13. Well, what about Canada?
    Rogers has refused to allow the paid android market, and refused to allow HTC to upgrade their phones!
    If anyone is interested in protesting, send an email to Rogers customer service. Let them know…

  14. @Dianne, that may be true, but considering how Optus has been discreetly jacking up prices of all its services (SMS, mobiles, internet, etc) they might be demanding more then 30%. They probably want to force people to buy rubbish from optus zoo in the future, but if they can force Google to provide them with epic profits, then they have no need to force people to use zoo.

    My solution is simple though, when I get my android phone, I will be using someone else (probably virgin). Screw Optus…

  15. @john the lesser:

    Speak for yourself. I used to be on AT&T years ago and had nothing but issues then. Switched to Verizon and it’s been nothing but ease since. Everyone I know who’s on another network (T-Mo, Sprint, Cricket, etc.) has nothing but complaints.

    Regardless, it’s rather pathetic that any company feels the need to try to hold Android hostage like that. Hopefully, a mass exodus of subscribers should convince them otherwise.

  16. Will the market enabler work in Canada?

  17. What I can’t understand is why Google still aren’t supporting Australian PUBLISHERS in the Android Market!

  18. I’m planning on getting the HTC Hero on virgin, because virgin uses the same network as optus, will it also get blocked from the paid app store?

  19. No paid apps in Canada yet either. And we have yet to see Donut 1.6 or Sense UI on our Magics. I’m gonna have to Root and get a custom ROM with 1.6 and Sense. And get Market Enabler. I love Android, but want my phone to work the way its supposed to. What’s the point of open source and everything if you can’t get paid apps and updates without hacking the phone?

  20. G, Market Enabler works on my Rogers G1.
    I hate my GSM provider. Unfortunately, they are the one and only true GSM provider in Canada. So I kinda have to cope with these morons, or move. Or at the end, I’ll probably just buy some US provider service, and will pay for roaming in Canada.
    Nico, do not hope that custom Donut will get you far – all non-Rogers builds of 1.6 will effectively kill your 3G connectivity.

  21. Rob, please add a P.O.S. page of Rogers to your article.

  22. I found a more in depth article about this:

    Unfortunately, it looks like this will also affect virgin, which means i’ll either have to find a crappier plan, or i’ll have to wipe the optus android software and install a custom firmware and use market enabler. My inner geek says to go with the latter

  23. I’m a new Virgin (aka Optus) customer using Samsung Galaxy – No paid apps either. Sucks.

  24. Ridiculous. How does a decent phone take so long to come out and when it finally does it’s on a shit network that deliberately disables key function? Way-to-go jerks. Yet another reason to NEVER buy into a phone contract seeing as how it’s a financially and legally binding agreement for you to pay to take shit from assholes. If it was a good, worthwhile service you wouldn’t need a contract would you??

  25. I was stoked when the HTC Dream came out here I went right out and got one on a 2 year contract with Optus. Having called them about this and gotten the answer ‘Yes we are blocking this on our Network but I don’t know why’ I have lost all confidence in them, I’ve been with Optus for 5 years but I am now seriously considering taking the financial hit of terminating the contract, I am only 3 months in and I will not put up with this for 2 whole years.

  26. FINALLY!! OPTUS listened to google’s dont be evil company logo. PAID APPS FINALLY!!

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