Ruslan Kogan explained the relaunch of his mobile phone service as being like the Lion King

Vodafone CEO Inaki Berroeta, Kogan CEO Ruslan Kogan and Kogan Mobile executive director David Shafer. Supplied.

“The way we view the past is like the Lion King. Scar was bad and made Simba leave, but now it’s Simba’s time for return.” said Ruslan Kogan at the re-launch of Kogan Mobile today.

Ruslan Kogan was wearing a Simba t-shirt to emphasise how serious he was about the Lion King analogy, so Business Insider thought we’d take the metaphor to its logical conclusion.

Kogan’s “Simba” was driven into the wilderness in 2013, when the shutdown of the original Kogan Mobile left 120,000 customers stranded.

As a mobile virtual network operator, 2013 Kogan Mobile controlled very little of its own savannah. Kogan signed a deal with ispONE, which acted as a wholesaler for Telstra’s 3G network, which makes ispONE King Mufasa, and perhaps Telstra is Zazu.

According to reports at the time, Kogan’s $29 plan was actually being shopped around by Telstra at between $75 and $95 per month.

That was unsustainable for ispONE, and after a falling out with Telstra it was put into administration. Kogan Mobile was unable to find another wholesaler, and quickly went out of business.

Customers were given just a month to port their numbers over to another service, or lose them. All in all it was a massive pain. ispOne – Mufafa, is dead, and Kogan Mobile is gone. Maybe Telstra is Scar. Draw your own conclusions on who the hyenas might be.

Kogan Mobile executive director David Shafer acknowledged the pain caused at today’s launch.

“This time we’ve taken it slowly and done it right” he said, referencing the two years Kogan and Vodafone have spent hammering out the deal.

This time, Kogan Mobile is very hands off. Vodafone will handle all of customer service for Kogan Mobile, as well providing the network. Which means Vodafone are Timon and Pumbaa? (Although isn’t the meerkat working for an insurance comparison website?)

Now that Simba is back it remains to be seen how the other animals will respond, especially those burned previously, or how effective they will be at converting Kogan.com users into Kogan Mobile customers.

But with Vodafone running the business and Kogan offering his brand, who is the new king? And whose kingdom is it?

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