The future of mobile data: Vodafone and TPG’s $1 billion deal

The future of Australian mobile is looking bright with telco giants Vodafone and TPG announcing a 15 year deal worth nearly $1 billion that could dramatically improve mobile data service across the country.

The deal will see TPG’s 320,000 mobile customers migrated to the Vodafone service, ditching its existing deal with Optus. In exchange TPG will use its existing fibre optics infrastructure and resources to connect around 3,000 Vodafone mobile sites with dark fibre.

“Dark Fibre is about preparing Vodafone for the future” Vodafone Chief Executive Officer, Iñaki Berroeta said. “Network data traffic will continue to grow through customers’ appetite for mobile content and the emergence of technologies and a Dark Fibre network will allow us to cater for future growth.”

To put it simply, dark fibre is the name given to fibre optic cables that are currently not in use. Once TPG has laid the network, Vodafone will control where and how it is used for the next 15 years. This technology will give customers faster mobile speeds, better coverage and more data for lower prices.

Even more impressively, dark fibre networks open a world of opportunity for the future of mobile data, as Mr Berroeta further claimed that the deal will mean “a higher-performing, 5G-ready network which will enable exciting future opportunities such as virtual and augmented reality applications”.

The rollout of dark fibre will begin immediately, with construction of the network expected to be complete by 2018.

The migration of TPG customer base to the new Vodafone network will occur gradually and customers will be informed when the change is going to happen. Existing TPG customers are advised that around 15% of devices that supported the Optus network won’t be supported by the Vodafone network; if you’re unsure if your phone is Vodafone compatible, then it is advised you call TPG to check.

This announcement gives both telcos are huge competitive edge for the near future, and comes amid much speculation of an eventual merger between the two companies.

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