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Optus CEO Slams Telstra-TPG Deal: “Higher Prices, Worse Service”

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has attacked the proposed network sharing deal between Telstra and TPG, saying it will result in “higher prices, worse service and less resilient communities”.

The proposed deal 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. Both TPG and Telstra claim this will allow for better access for customers of both telcos.

Optus obviously feels differently about this.

“Under the proposed agreement, Telstra will be paid to face less competition and will gain unprecedented control over our scarce national spectrum assets,” Bayer Rosmarin said.

“Arguments from Telstra and TPG that slapping a new logo on top of the Telstra network creates competition won’t fool anyone.”

Optus urged the ACCC to block this deal in March. The watchdog is looking at it, and will make a final decision in October.

“Under the proposed agreement, Telstra will be paid to face less competition and will gain unprecedented control over our scarce national spectrum assets,” Bayer Rosmarin said.

TPG’s GM of external affairs James Rickards feels Optus’ move is a desperate one.

“Optus is terrified because it knows this deal brings real customer choice and competition to regional Australia,” Rickards said.

“It is deliberately twisting the facts to suit its own commercial agenda at the expense of TPG customers who should be allowed to have access to the superior regional mobile coverage enjoyed by Optus and Telstra customers.”

Telstra claims such active network sharing is common in Europe and North America.

“It is a practical engineering and commercial response to the realities of building infrastructure and providing services in regional Australia, and the regulatory settings that overlay this,” a Telstra spokesperson said.

“Some of the criticism of the Telstra-TPG deal has come from competitors who either cannot think beyond the infrastructure sharing models of the past or who were not bold enough to get there first.”



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