TPG mobile network could sign up two in five Australians: Telsyte

Telsyte has found that two fifths of Australians are receptive to moving to the nation's fourth mobile network once it is available should it throw in high data allowances and bundling deals.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Technology analyst firm Telsyte has said two in five Australians would consider moving across to the TPG mobile network once it is complete.

According to Telsyte's analysis of the "potential impact" of Australia's fourth mobile network, two fifths would move if TPG offered benefits including free trial periods, unlimited data, and bundling discounts.

However, Telsyte is predicting that TPG will struggle to connect 1 million services in operation (SIOs) within its first two years.

"The challenge for TPG will be to profitably bring new services to market without simply attracting bargain hunters," Telsyte senior analyst Alvin Lee said.

Instead of simply focusing on mobile connections, TPG should also look to the opportunities of wearables, eSIM-connected devices, and machine-to-machine connections over the next three years, Telsyte added.

Overall, Australian consumers are increasingly wanting lower-cost mobile plans, with Telsyte calling mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) the "growth leader" of the first half of 2017.

"With over 200,000 new SIOs collectively, [MVNOs are] beating the individual performance of Optus, Vodafone, and Telstra in that order," Telsyte said.

Aldi Mobile, Amaysim, and Kogan Mobile came out on top of the MVNOs during the six-month period, with Telsyte finding that price has now overtaken network performance as the most important factor for consumers choosing a telco.

"We are entering an increasingly price competitive mobile services market in this pre-5G period," Lee said.

Earlier this month, Kantar said Telstra currently holds 37.9 percent of the total Australian mobile market; Optus holds 24.2 percent; and Vodafone Australia holds 15.7 percent. The remaining the remaining 22 percent is held by MVNOs Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, Amaysim/Vaya, Aldi Mobile, and TPG itself.

Kantar had similarly found that more consumers are choosing their telco based on high data allowances for low prices.

"Telstra and Optus are the main sources of new Vodafone customers, who have taken advantage of the double data plans on offer, with AU$40 to AU$50 plans the most popular, entitling users to up to 20GB of data," Kantar explained earlier this month.

"Huge data allowances in excess of 10GB are becoming commonplace but at more competitive prices, allowing consumers' monthly bills to shift towards mid-range prices between AU$30 to AU$60."

TPG in September said its AU$1.9 billion Australian mobile network build-out has made "strong progress", with the network expected to be complete across Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra by mid-2018.

Progress on this network has involved signing contracts with technology partners on mobile sites, small cells, and macro cells, with TPG focusing not only on 4G readiness but also on preparing for 5G.

"In Australia, where the initial network implementation is concentrated on the country's most densely populated areas, the group has already entered into agreements with multiple partners to gain access to a large volume of sites to provide coverage of major metropolitan areas," the telecommunications provider said during its FY17 financial results presentation.

"TPG's strategy is to deploy a primary small cell network across metropolitan areas, complemented by a traditional macro network.

"TPG has entered into agreements with multiple partners across Australia to be used for both the small cell and macro network providing a significant number of sites to cover major metropolitan areas.

"A higher density of small cell sites will be used for the initial 4G LTE rollout, and will also provide key infrastructure assets for the longer-term 5G evolution."

The company, which currently wholesales Vodafone's 4G network while building its own out, had 445,000 mobile subscribers in total as of July -- 155,000 on iiNet and 290,000 on TPG.

TPG had been focused on raising AU$400 million to help fund its Australian network, after announcing earlier this year that it would become the fourth mobile operator by using its purchase of 2x 10MHz of mobile broadband spectrum in the 700MHz band and combining this with its existing holdings in the 2.5GHz and 1800MHz bands.

TPG is similarly building out Singapore's fourth mobile network, expecting to have the outdoor portion complete by December 2018.

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