TPG to launch its own Australian mobile network

TPG might be a junior telco in Australia, but the company has been consistently performing well. And, in a bid to move away from current telecom partner Vodafone, TPG has purchased managerial rights to 30MHz worth of radio frequency spectrum in the 700MHz band — spectrum which has been lying unsold since it was first offered by the government in 2013.

The ISP had previously acquired licences for the 2.5GHz and 1,800MHz bands, and this latest acquisition puts TPG firmly on the path to building its own mobile network, giving Telstra, Optus and Vodafone some further competition.

The company’s latest licence allows it to use the spectrum starting 1 April 2018, and will expire on 31 December 2029.

Network expansion

TPG has announced that it will spend $1.9 billion on building the new network, which is expected to service 80% of the country’s population. It will be rolled out over three years, with coverage beginning some time in 2018.

In a statement to the Australian Security Exchange (ASX), a spokesperson for the telco said that, “The network would provide broad coverage across densely populated areas of the country with approximately 2,000 to 2,500 sites.”

Commenting on this relative ‘leap of faith’ for the company, TPG CEO David Teoh stated that, “This acquisition of 700MHz spectrum in Australia is a tremendous development for the long-term future of TPG. We believe that our mobile strategy will be complementary to our ongoing fixed line business, with the ability to bundle mobile and fixed services expected to have a beneficial effect on our already low fixed services customer churn.”

It has been reported that TPG will fund the new mobile network using operational cash flows and through debt facilities, and is trying to secure $400 million of capital.

TPG recently spread its wings to expand outside of Australia and is in the early stages of setting up shop in the Singaporean telecom marketplace.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.