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TPG Telecom Slashes Broadband Prices To Undercut NBN

Australia’s third-biggest telco TPG Telecom has decided to slash its broadband prices via its iiNet brand in order to challenge the government-owned NBN Co.

TPG has reduced the price of its 90 megabits per second monthly plan by A$35 to A$54.99 for the first 12 months after a customer signs up to it.

This figure compares with A$69.99 for the NBN’s basic 12Mbps second plan.

TPG consumer head Kieren Cooney positioned the price cuts as being in line with measures to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

“In an environment where Australians are feeling the pinch of living costs, consumers need affordable broadband. iiNet is proud to offer a plan that not only delivers great speed, but provides substantial savings that make a real difference to household budgets,” The Australian reported Cooney as having said regarding the new plan.

“Addressing affordability is key to unlocking the full potential of broadband for everyone. At iiNet, we believe access to high-speed internet shouldn’t be a luxury. With our Ultra Broadband plan, we’re ensuring more Australians can enjoy top-tier internet speeds without the top-tier price tag,” noted Cooney.

In March, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced it would force TPG and Uniti – the two biggest suppliers of superfast fixed-line broadband – to benchmark their prices against NBN Co’s.

TPG and Uniti dominated the superfast broadband network or SBAS market. The ACCC said that since 2017 the SBAS market has consolidated as bigger firms acquire smaller rivals, leaving TPG – via its Vision Network – and Uniti as the dominant players, with their networks covering more than one million premises, primarily in apartment buildings and new residential estates.

The ACCC says the new regulation “strikes the right balance” between protecting consumers and ensuring competition among NBN rivals.

But TPG didn’t see it that way and criticised the decision, saying if its prices weren’t competitive against the NBN’s, its customers would leave, and drew parallels between the new regulation and protectionism.

The ACCC when declaring its decision said that the access determination sets maximum wholesale prices and other important terms and conditions for retailers to access the networks. The regulation will apply if the network owners and retailers cannot reach satisfactory commercial agreements.

“We have made this access determination so the one million or so Australians who rely on these networks for internet at their homes or businesses can select from a broader range of retailers and offers that can better meet their needs,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said in March this year.

“The final regulation we’ve settled on contains specific price terms, benchmarked against NBN Co’s pricing, that will enable consumers and businesses to find retail offers that are similar to, or better than, those available on the NBN,” added Brakey.

Cooney added that the new iiNet plan was specifically tailored for a select number of regional Victorian areas including Geelong, Mildura and Ballarat, Canberra and major metro cities where TPG’s Vision Network competes with NBN.

The Vision Network reportedly covers 400,000 households with its cable and VDSL network, making it Australia’s biggest non-NBN wholesale broadband network.

The price war between TPG and NBN has been an ongoing saga. Last September, TPG’s Vision Network slashed its wholesale pricing. Pricing for its100Mbps plan, for example, fell to A$50 per month, which is 10 per cent cheaper than NBN Co.

TPG also upgraded Vision’s fibre to the building technology in metro apartment buildings and in Canberra to support G.fast, which enabled speeds of up to a gigabit.

“The NBN is not the be-all and end-all of broadband connectivity. By using an alternative infrastructure provider like Vision Network, we can provide high-speed at great value prices that aren’t possible on the NBN,” noted Cooney.

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