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When NBN promo deals end, customers and telcos revert to old speeds

Almost 200,000 services in Australia were downgraded in the September quarter as NBN ended its Focus on Fast deal.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The orange is shrinking

Image: ACCC

The latest edition of the NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed the number of connections on NBN's 250/25Mbps Superfast and 500-1000Mbps/50Mbps Ultrafast plans has dropped by nearly 200,000 lines.

Combined with users continuing to leave 12Mbps and 25Mbps plans, it has left 58% of the network now on 50Mbps plans.

Over the September quarter, almost 45,000 lines moved off 12Mbps plans leaving 924,000 connections, 122,000 moved off 25Mbps with 945,000 now on that speed, 171,000 lines switched from Superfast leaving 389,000 active connections, and 24,700 dropped Ultrafast tiers for under 62,000 to remain.

Almost 353,000 lines shifted to 50Mbps with the total number now at 4.9 million, and over 50,000 took up 100/20Mbps plans taking the total to over 423,000.

These shifts are sometimes instigated by users, but often times it can be the telcos purchasing cheaper bandwidth at higher tiers and "gifting" speed increases to customers.

In the December quarter, for instance, TPG Telecom had 468,000 fewer connections on 100Mbps speed plans, but it saw an extra 335,000 lines move onto 250Mbps, and 113,000 extra 50Mbps plans. For this quarter, the telco had 282,000 fewer 250Mbps connections, 43,000 fewer Ultrafast lines, and 292,500 more 50Mbps connections and almost 63,900 100/40Mbps lines.

"The 50Mbps and 100Mbps speed tiers have been very popular with consumers recently, which is understandable as extended lockdowns in several states and territories have resulted in millions of people working and learning from home," ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey said.

"As temporary promotions wind down and retailers adjust pricing accordingly, we strongly encourage customers to think about their internet needs and pay for a higher speed tier only if their usage demands it."

Fresh off its Exetel acquisition, Superloop has made its first entrance into the report, breaking through to be called out on its own, rather than bundled into others.

Sitting around 1.5% market share with approximately 126,700 customers, Superloop has between 33,300 and 36,900 customers each on full fibre, fibre to the node, and cable technologies.

"Smaller niche providers have injected competition into the market for broadband services and they now go some way to constraining the big four of Telstra, TPG, Optus, and Vocus," Brakey added.

"Smaller providers give consumers real choice in the service quality and range of products to meet their needs."

As a result of Exetel joining Superloop, the ACCC said Optus saw its wholesale market share drop by 1.1%.

Overall CVC capacity across the NBN network now sits at 2.82Mbps per user.

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