Gladys Berejiklian Breaks Silence To Slam Telstra-TPG Deal
Gladys Berejiklian has broken her post-ICAC silence to slam the network-sharing deal between rivals TPG and Telstra, calling it “a backwards step for millions of Australians.”
In a blog post on Optus’ website, the former NSW premier writes: “I have witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of floods and fires on our regional communities.
“Communications were so critical at this time for everyone – those ringing for help, people trying to find reassurance that their loved ones were safe and our brave first responders who relied on communication to perform what was being asked of them.
“Our regions need more telecommunications investment, better connectivity, and improved services – and the proposed Telstra / TPG network merger is a very big step backward.”
Gladys hasn’t made a public statement since her resignation on October 1, after claims she breached her public duties during her secret relationship with Daryl Maguire.
“To really improve outcomes, investing in more communications infrastructure is required to improve connectivity – and this is the opposite of what Telstra and TPG are proposing,” she writes.
“The proposed merger risks these advantages and the future ones and with that, our nation’s economic potential.
We must continue to provide regional businesses with the competitive communications that underpins further improvements, ingenuity, and growth. Regional Australia won’t be the only beneficiaries of improved connectivity; as more parts of the nation’s economy flourishes, so does all of Australia.”
The proposed deal, which is currently being scrutinised by the ACCC, means that Telstra will gain access to TPG’s 4G and 5G spectrum, and 169 mobile sites.
TPG will, in turn, access 3,700 Telstra cellular towers, bumping its 4G coverage to 98.8 per cent of Australians. It will also decommission 725 of its TPG mobile sites, allowing for better access for customers of both telcos.
Telstra argues this will increase both coverage and competition.
“This additional spectrum will mean that all Telstra customers will continue to experience Australia’s best and fastest network across the country, in combined 4G and 5G speeds,” said Telstra then-CEO Andy Penn in April, when the deal was struck, arguing the spectrum agreement will “ensure that regional and rural customers will now. experience faster speeds in more locations on their mobiles.”