TPG remains the strong, silent type of Australian telecommunications. Despite a reputation as a budget provider, TPG’s network and scope is surprisingly large. The group controls one of the largest and most comprehensive DSLAM networks in Australia, owns its own undersea pipe back to the US internet, and boasts some of the absolute best value plans available, currently served up to over half a million customers. They do all of this with bare-bones advertising (no smiling grandpas or funky CGI dancing birds, a’la Telstra and Dodo) and pared-down offerings that squeeze as much value as possible – all while maintaining top-flight infrastructure.
TPG began in Sydney in 1992, as Total Peripherals Group. The company started out making computers, in the days when that market was still wide open. TPG soon moved to providing internet services and remained a middle-of-the-pack presence until 2008, when it merged with Soul, and expanded the network to business grade solutions. Soon thereafter, TPG acquired PIPE networks, the builders and operators of the 7000km PPC 1 international fibre optic cable to Guam. This move made TPG one of the only providers, besides Telstra and Optus, of international backhaul. Almost as soon as the cable was in place and the ink was dry on the deal, TPG switched on Australia’s first true Unlimited broadband plan, which remains the flagship product.
Since 2010, TPG has skyrocketed to 2nd place as an ADSL2+ provider, and hovers around 3rd and 4th place in the general scope of Telecommunications (Behind Telstra and Optus, and neck and neck with the iiNet group, which includes Internode).
TPG, like most big ISPs, has slowed its rollout of DSLAMs, having hit the 20% of exchanges that connect over 70% of Australians. TPG remains the lone holdout amongst the big 4 ISPs in releasing an NBN strategy, no doubt waiting until there’s more of a network to base its plans on. Unlike Optus, iiNet, Internode and even smaller ISPs like Dodo and Exetel, TPG remains pretty quiet on the politics of telecommunications and its relationship with Telstra. TPG prefers instead to speak softly and carry a big network, and let big value plans do the talking.
• 6 month contracts
• Unlimited plans from $59.95, bundled
• Large international network providing fast, steady speeds
• Offshore customer support and service
• Steep setup fees
• Limited phone service
ADSL2+ Unlimited Bundle - $59.99/month for 6 months
Unlimited data + $99.95 setup fee + $20 home phone deposit. No modem provided; BYO or separate purchase
Minimum $479.89 over 6 months
TPG competes at most major exchanges, and offers a deeper regional network than Optus. They are often the sole low-cost alternative to Telstra in many areas, and are big enough that they act as a wholesale backhaul provider (through PIPE networks) to a handful of smaller ISPs. Outside of its network, TPG offers standalone ADSL2+ through Telstra’s network at higher prices. TPG's off-net prices are competitive, but most of the high-value offerings are reserved for customers inside its network footprint. In Telstra-only exchanges they are a middling option; inside its own network, the price-to-quality ratio is almost unbeatable.