- Comments made by ACCC chair Rod Sims about its network and spectrum sharing deal in regional Australia with Telstra may lead to higher prices was disputed by TPG Telecom.
- According to the spokesperson, a large part of the cost of the agreement with Telstra will be offset by savings from no longer operating its regional network.
- CEO Inaki Berroeta said that, overall, the new agreement would operate in the “same cost envelope” as the status quo.
Comments made by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims about its network and spectrum sharing deal in regional Australia with Telstra may lead to higher prices was disputed by TPG Telecom.
In describing Vodafone, now owned by TPG Telecom, he said “You’ve got Telstra with way more coverage than Optus, with way more coverage than Vodafone.”
“That’s fine in Australia, which is the most urbanised country in the world. You can have a good business on that, but you do it by pricing at the low end. There are a lot of people who live in cities who get lower-priced phones and phone service. What will happen to that is a key question. Obviously, Vodafone will now be much less differentiated to the other players and so it may be able to raise its prices,” he further added.
“Vodafone, of course, is paying money to Telstra, so it has to recover that. We really need to understand the impact on prices because at the moment, you’ve got a bit of a competitive dynamic. We’re concerned about whether that dynamic will disappear,” he then concluded.
However, TPG Telecom refuted these comments. “Contrary to Mr. Sims’ comments, our own analysis has confirmed advertised mobile prices have fallen since the merger, with nearly all plan changes favouring consumers through higher data allowances and higher speeds,” a spokesperson said.
“Our regional network sharing agreement with Telstra is in the best interests of competition, choice, and consumers. It will allow us to bring our much-loved brands, including Vodafone, TPG, iiNet, and Felix, to millions more Australians. We’ll be offering a choice of provider to many regional areas for the first time. Our customers will receive seamless access to 4G and 5G coverage in regional Australia at no extra cost on our plans. We’ll also continue to differentiate our products as we’ll be using our own core network.”
According to the spokesperson, a large part of the cost of the agreement with Telstra will be offset by savings from no longer operating its regional network. In addition to this, it will also be offset by payments it received from Telstra for spectrum.
CEO Inaki Berroeta said that, overall, the new agreement would operate in the “same cost envelope” as the status quo.
Meanwhile, CEO Andy Penn said, “I would like to think that they would see this as net positive for the industry and so, therefore, would hope that they would be supportive, but we have to go through that process and they’ll obviously do their own reviews and we’ll be guided by that.”