Home Telecoms & NBN TPG, Vocus serve up challenge to Telstra and Optus: report

TPG, Vocus serve up challenge to Telstra and Optus: report

TPG Telecom is now Australia's second-biggest provider of fixed-line broadband and is increasingly putting the big two telcos — Telstra and Optus — under competitive market pressure, according to a new report.

According to telecoms analyst Phil Harpur of the Budde Report, TPG now has more than 1.7 million customers for its fixed-line broadband services, has the largest data network and voice network after Telstra, the largest fully converged voice, video and data IP-based access network in regional Australia, and the largest voice-enabled IP network.

Harpur says TPG continues to challenge Telstra and Optus in the telecoms market and, he notes, TPG has created a new retail arm to sell its wholesale fibre-to-the-basement product to residential customers.

“Services including voice, Internet and data solutions are provided to a customer base ranging from the consumer market through to small and medium enterprises, corporate and government sectors. The company also owns a cloud-hosting company and the PIPE network infrastructure that includes the third largest domestic dark-fibre operation and the submarine cable network to Guam, Asia and the US.

“The company is delivering an extensive fibre-to-the-basement (FttB) service to apartment buildings in capital cities, offering broadband at 100Mb/s at a price which undercuts existing offers from rival ISPs. TPG has also secured spectrum in the 2.5GHz band to bolster its wireless broadband capabilities, and has committed to investing in additional capacity on the subsea cable linking to New Zealand and the US West Coast.”

And, Harpur notes that in 2017 TPG made a “bold move” to become the fourth mobile operator in Australia, with initial sites targeted for mid 2018.

On Vocus — TPG’s fellow second-tier telco and another challenger to Telstra and Optus — Harpur says the company's merger with M2 Communications creates Australia's fourth-largest telecommunications company and the third-largest in New Zealand, offering services including co-location, Internet, voice, fibre and ethernet services. As well as merging with M2 and acquiring Amcom, Vocus also acquired Nextgen Networks and its 17,000km fibre network linking major cities and regional centres.

“Vocus’ acquisition of Nextgen Networks will seriously lift its position as an infrastructure based telco. The acquisition is the next and perhaps final part of the company’s strategic plan that has also seen his firm expand geographically with the previous acquisition of Amcom and FX Networks, and diversify into the consumer space via its merger with M2,” Harpur says.

“While the TPG/iiNet merger brought two similar companies together, and as such potentially reduced the number of players in the market, the Vocus/M2 combination brings two different companies together – one operating in the business market and one operating in the retail market. This will allow the companies to share resources and attract better deals from the various ICT (wholesale) providers they do business with.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).