This Aussie startup is going after international students in a deal with Optus

Photo: Atsushi Tomura/ Getty

Brisbane-based education tech startup Cohort Solutions has struck a deal with Optus to provide international students with pre-paid sim cards before they land Down Under.

Company CEO Mark Fletcher said the company needed a bit more scale to offer the new pre-paid plans, which he said it achieved after hitting the 10,000 customer mark.

Fletcher said the startup was targeting countries which which had significant volumes of students coming in, including China, India and Vietnam.

“A Chinese student that’s coming to Australia, trying to understand how each telco operates is a real issue,” he said.

Fletcher estimates there are 590,000 international students in Australia and by offering mobile phone plans in their home countries, Cohort can lock them in before they arrive.

Counting Shark Tank judge Steve Baxter as one of its backers, the latest deal is part of Cohort’s stated mission to help lower the cost of studying in Australia. Adding phone plans to its offering, Cohort Solutions already helps international students with organising temporary accommodation, health insurance and tuition payments.

Optus pre-paid services national business manager John Bailey said: “Moving countries is hard enough as is without the burden of having to go out and find a suitable and affordable phone plan when you get there.”

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