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We’re heading for an Uber-like mobile service to access any network anytime says Boost Mobile founder

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Australians may soon enjoy an Uber-like experience when it comes to accessing any mobile network with a plan that offers the cheapest or fastest access depending on your location, according to Boost Mobile founder Peter Adderton.

Adderton, a vocal leader of the telco industry, says the next step for MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) could be to offer access to any network based on speed or price.

When customers arrive in another country with their mobile device they are just assigned a network to use.

“Imagine if that happened here where you actually just pay for one service and you roam with any service Telstra, Optus or Vodafone,” Adderton said.

“So take that same mentality of ‘I really don’t care who I roam with’ and just give me the best network with the best pipe at any time.”

Adderton said he has been working closely with Google who is developing Project Fi – a MVNO that can provide phone, messaging and data services using a combination of wi-fi and several cellular services.

“I’ve been meeting with the guys from Google and Project Fi and they have the ability to switch depending on where you are,” Adderton said.

“We’re sitting here right now and if the network is better on Voda then we’d switch to Voda.

“If the network is better on Optus, then you’d switch to Optus.”

“And if you’re willing to give up speed for price and also pay for speed when you need it.

Boost Mobile's Peter Adderton
Boost Mobile’s Peter Adderton

“When you start thinking about this – I think is where the world goes.”

Adderton says eSIMs – an electronic chip instead of a network specific card – is where the

technology is going and this would enable a service like Google’s Project Fi.

“All roads are leading to a Uber-like AirBNB-like experience for mobile,” Adderton said.

“I can hit an Uber button right now and they will match me with a driver I don’t know, in a car I’ve never seen but I’m more than happy to get in it.

“If I can have that same mentality with a next generation network, they can match me with a network based on price and I really don’t care as long as it works.”

Adderton is the head of Boost Mobile, the MVNO that uses the Telstra network and aimed at the lucrative youth market.

In February last year Adderton predicted the arrival of unlimited mobile data plans in the Australian market – a move the telcos made last week.

Adderton also has huge expectation for the 5G networks when they become available in the next two years.

He says 5G will provide enough bandwidth and speed so a customer won’t need a fixed line broadband connection.

“Talk to some of the carriers in the US and they agree with that, they’re getting speeds now out of 5G that are pretty good,” he says.

“5G will be well and truly enough bandwidth for the next generation of consumers coming through. And then that opens up a whole world of models.”