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TPG joins Optus and Telstra in the race to 4G

  • TPG begins to buy 4G network
  • 4G networks spreading across Australia
  • Advantages of 4G on a 0-month contract
Written by Mikaella Clements
Content Writer
13/05/2013

TPG was a surprise contender in the battle over Australia’s 4G networks in the recent auction of ACMA’s wireless spectrum.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority offered up a range of higher spectrum mobile networks in their latest auction, and Telstra, Optus, and TPG were quick to take up the chance to expand their growing 4G networks.

 

TPG

Telstra bought 2x20MHz lots in the 700MHz hand and 2x40MHz lots in the 2.5GHz band (for $1.3 billion), Optus bought 2x10Mhz lots in the 700MHz band and 2x20MHz lots in the 2.5GHz band (for $649 million), while TPG bought 2x10MHz lots in the 2.5GHz band.

This is a relatively small amount for a provider to buy, and as of yet it’s unclear exactly what TPG plan to do with it. However, if TPG are looking into buying 4G networks, it would be a subtle yet significant shift within the mobile market and the way we access our data.

4G networks exploded on the Australian market last year with the announcement that Telstra would offer the HTC Velocity 4G on a 4G network - the first one available in Australia. To begin with, the announcement was exciting on the surface but far too shallow to provide much enjoyment for users: the 4G coverage networks were predominantly only available in the CBD of major Australian cities, and the limited number of devices that could access it put a further halt in the accessibility and usability of 4G networks.

However, as the months went on, Telstra’s 4G network expanded and Optus got in on the action, too, offering both cheap devices to access the 4G network on and wholesale options for other providers, like Virgin mobile, to be able to offer 4G on their services as well.

Click here to read more about Optus’s 4G plans, or call Optus on 1300 137 897.

Now, there’s a much larger range of providers who offer 4G networks in Australia. Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone all have their own networks, while Virgin Mobile, Exetel, and iiNet piggyback off Optus’s network in order to be able to provide the service to their customers.

However, TPG will be a new and interesting addition to the field based on a couple of points. To begin with, they will own their own network outright, rather than negotiating with Optus as to how much speed and spectrum they are allowed, giving them and their customers more flexibility and very possibly a better service.

Additionally, they are, at this stage, predominantly a no-phone/no-contract provider. This means that TPG do not sell phones as part of their plan, and they also do not sell their plans on a contract. Instead, they offer very low cost plans on three basic tiers, ranging from $9.99 for the light user to $34.99 for the heavy user. Customers can then pick a plan that suits them and use it on their phone that they already own outright, and more and more, these phones will be 4G capable.

Click here to read about buying a phone outright.

As 4G becomes, like 3G, a regular feature on most hardware, the number of people who want to be able to access fast 4G without signing up to a long term contract will increase. In general, Australians (along with the rest of the world!) prefer the flexibility and control that comes with a 0-month contract. While it is impossible for a provider to supply you with a phone on a 0-month contract (as they have no guarantee that you will stay with their company, eventually allowing them to make their margins), the advantages of a no contract plan are manifold.

Trying out a provider on a one month contract is a great thing for customers (if not for providers!). It means that providers have to actively prove that their service is usable and suitable in order to maintain your business. If after a month has passed, the customer has any number of issues with the service - the speed, the rate at which they use their credit, the customer service, the coverage, and even unexpected bill shock - it is a simple task to close the account and move on to another provider. And, unlike broadband connections, the set-up fees for a new mobile plan are minute: usually a new SIM costs $2.

No contract plans are a great way to ensure that you remain in control of your plan, and the knowledge that TPG (along with Amaysim, who also provide 0-month contracts) may soon provide 4G coverage available on those 0-month plans makes the concept even more attractive. Hopefully, TPG and Amaysim will hurry to keep up with the new quantities of mobiles being released that have 4G compatibility, and soon it won’t just be those willing to commit to a provider for two years who are enjoying the fast speeds of 4G.

Call us for more information about TPG’s mobile plans on 1300 106 571.

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