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Optus closes the gates on Optus Zoo mobile portal

After more than 10 years of offering customers the opportunity to download music, eBooks, games and "tones," Optus has announced it will close its Optus Zoo mobile portal.

Optus

Optus has announced it will shutter its content and service portal Optus Zoo by the end of the month, to be replaced by an "alternative content store" that will continue offering downloads such as music, apps and eBooks.

Optus Zoo has more than a decade of history under its belt, with roots in the early days of mobile internet and WAP-enabled feature phones. As well as offering customers a way to access webmail on their account, Zoo provided an Optus-branded gateway to content such as news, weather and sport, plus game, app and music downloads.

In a notice on the Optus website, the telco informed customers that the Optus Zoo website, mobile site and Optus Now app would all close at midday on March 27. Under the change, self-service sites including My Account, Webmail, Prepaid Recharge, Member Services and Mobile Self Care will now be found on Optus' main website.

The frequently asked questions listed by Optus also provide an insight into the kind of services that Optus will no longer offer through Zoo.

"You'll also no longer be able to download content from Optus Zoo like music, pics, tones, games and Ebooks or receive our ongoing subscription services or newsletters to your email or mobile," the FAQ read. "We're working hard on a new content store for Optus mobile customers to be available from 27 March to purchase and download content like music, apps, games, and Ebooks."

Users will still be able to re-download content purchased through the Zoo portal, and this content will still be accessible on devices once the service has closed. Similarly, vouchers purchased through Zoo will still be accepted after March 27.

According to Optus, the closure of the news and content aggregator website came following a review of the business.

"Optus' Australian Group Digital Life business is focused on creating new growth opportunities through new technology," the company said in a statement. "Customers will still have access to their Optus Zoo email addresses. We will be notifying them directly to communicate the changes.

"We are also working through the changes to the Zoo stores for apps, music, eBooks and games and will contact affected customers."

The closure of Optus Zoo point to a broader shift in the way Australian mobile habits have changed over the past decade. While the portal provides access to a number of game downloads, the range and prices differ significantly from what is offered through the likes of Google Play and the iTunes store.

For example, while Optus offers a version of Bejeweled for AU$7.99, this app is available for free through Play and iTunes. Other "Most Downloaded" app titles include QR Barcode Scanner (AU$7.99), Discount Calculator (AU$1.99) and Today in History -- a Wikipedia-style app that displays important historical events for a selected date -- available for AU$7.99.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. AEDT: Included statement from Optus.