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TPG's unlimited NBN plans enabled by AAPT buy

As debate rages over TPG competing against NBN Co, TPG has released its unlimited plans for services on NBN Co's network, which the company says were only possible through its large fibre infrastructure assets.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

TPG has officially launched new plans for the National Broadband Network (NBN) as debate still rages on as to whether the telco will be allowed to build its own fibre to the basement network to 500,000 premises across Australia's capital cities.

The company had previously announced the plans at its investor meeting last month, but it has now unveiled the full package of unlimited data plans across two NBN speed tiers — 12Mbps down, 1Mbps up; and 100Mbps down, 40Mbps up.

The 12/1 plan starts at AU$59.99 per month with a pay-as-you-go phone service. An extra AU$10 or AU$20 per month will get customers unlimited local calls, or unlimited local calls and international calls to some countries, respectively.

The 100/40 plan starts at AU$89.99 per month, with the same call pack options.

The TPG fineprint explains that in the first month customers will need to pay an upfront AU$99.95 installation fee, and a AU$20 phone prepayment, as well as AU$10 for the delivery of the NetComm wireless router that TPG includes with the service.

There is no lock-in as part of the contract, however.

TPG's general manager Craig Levy said that TPG was only able to offer unlimited data plans through owning a substantial amount of infrastructure.

"The reason TPG is able to offer these new plans at market leading price points is because of the group's substantial telecommunications infrastructure. We own fibre connecting to NBN's points of interconnect. We own the inter-capital bandwidth following our recent acquisition of AAPT. We own the undersea PPC-1 submarine cable system connecting Australia to the international internet," he said.

"With domestic peering arrangements with Telstra and Optus and one of the largest fixed voice networks in Australia, we are in a privileged position to bring extraordinary value to consumers."

Levy said TPG would be targeting customers who currently reside outside of TPG's on-net ADSL2+ DSLAM footprint.

"TPG has experienced consistent organic growth over a number of years. We expect that organic growth to continue by capturing a share of a larger addressable market," Levy said.

It comes as the broadband cost-benefit analysis review being conducted by an independent panel for the government is expected to make recommendations over whether TPG is allowed to roll-out its own fibre to the basement network to 500,000 apartments and businesses across Australia's metropolitan CBDs.

NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski has said that TPG's move amounts to cherry-picking profitable areas, and the move to compete against NBN Co could undermine the economics of the whole NBN project.

On Lateline last night, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the panel, headed up by Michael Vertigan, may ultimately find that TPG's proposal is in breach of anti-cherry-picking laws that passed under Labor in 2011.

"The scheme of the act — and this was set up when Labor was in power — was designed basically to say this: that you could — anyone could build a high-speed, super-fast network after 2011, but if they did so, they had to — it had to be a wholesale network, it couldn't be vertically integrated with a retail telco and it had to offer services of the same type as the NBN," he said.

"It's not yet established precisely what they're proposing to do. It's not yet established whether what they're proposing to do is consistent with the law. So, I think there's a fair bit of water to go under the bridge on TPG."

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