OPTUS is overhauling its stores and shopfronts to lure new customers as competition intensifies for mobile subscribers in a flat market.

The country’s second largest telco will open 33 new Optus-branded shops within a year and refurbish 67 existing stores, bringing the total number of revamped stores to 100.

Kevin Russell, Optus chief executive, foreshadowed the new retail campaign a month ago when the company released its quarterly results, which showed much slower pace of mobile subscribers growth than its key rival Telstra.

“We are investing heavily in terms of strengthening our online capability and opening new branded optus stores,” Mr Russell told BusinessDay. “We want to centre our core distribution services strategy around branded retail and online.”

Optus was expected to hire 200 retail staff for its stores.

Major telcos in Australia are ramping up their campaigns to improve customer service as consumers express their dissatisfaction with the industry. Telstra boss David Thodey has spoken about improving customer service since he took up the job in 2009.

Mr Russell said: “Overall, where the industry is not where it needs to be in terms of services level and it is something all of us need to improve … from an Optus standpoint, I want to see as many rapid improvements in the 12 to 18 months as possible.”

As part of its retail branding strategy, Optus terminated ties with distributors Telechoice and Allphones. Mr Russell said the move was about saving money and strengthening the Optus brand.

The telco will open 10 pilot stores along the east coast during March. The first one was opened last week in Hornsby.

“We want interactions with Optus to exceed expectations and the feedback, both good and bad, from our pilot stores will be invaluable in helping us shape the experience for the rest of the transformation,” Optus managing director of sales, Rohan Ganeson, said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.