TPG’s acquisition of its competitor iiNet has formed a telco superpower in Australia. But despite that, the two brands are still run as separate entities and their products remain unique – at least for now. This means Aussie customers still have a wide range of options to choose from when looking for a new home broadband or mobile phone plan.
It remains to be seen how long this will last, but for now, customers of iiNet can relax in the knowledge that no changes have yet been announced.
TPG’s offerings have traditionally been focused on lower prices and value for money, whereas iiNet’s focus has been on more premium services such as the NBN, fibre to the home and fully-loaded bundles, as well as on customer service and advocacy. So how do the two brands stack up in terms of their telco offerings to customers?
Like most telcos, iiNet gives its customers a choice of several main products. The first of these is Naked DSL, which is simply a broadband plan that includes iiNet’s VoIP Netphone service rather than the traditional home phone line rental. Customers can choose between the 250GB or ‘Liimitless’ (unlimited data) plans, on a monthly or 24-month contract.
If you’re after a regular home phone, you can choose from one of four ADSL2+ broadband bundles – 250GB, 500GB or two Liimitless packages – all of which let you include home phone line rental at no extra cost. iiNet also offers Cable and NBN fibre connections at locations which support it, with both providing the highest possible internet speeds as well as included Netphone support. Here is a selection of iiNet’s NBN plans:
iiNet offers PAYG phone calls by default, but you can add unlimited national and mobile calls to your Liimitless plan for $10 extra per month. The same goes for the optional international call pack, which brings unlimited calls to 20 selected countries.
TPG’s approach to internet products is pretty similar. It offers Naked ADSL2+, standard ASDL2+ home phone bundles and fibre connections, both through the NBN and through its subsidiary fibre provider Wondercom.
Their bundles and naked ADSL2+ plans both come in several data amounts before topping out with unlimited plans, and the company also offers NBN bundles for eligible customers. That said, there are a couple of key differences. Here is a selection of NBN plans from TPG:
TPG’s biggest differentiator is its lack of HFC cable broadband. Cable is offered by iiNet (albeit at limited locations) and is the staple high-speed internet technology provided by competitors such as Telstra and Optus. This is no doubt a result of TPG’s cost-focused approach, but it still means a significant number of customers could opt for iiNet instead – or another provider entirely.
The company’s biggest advantage, however, is its inclusion of IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) in its standard broadband bundles. IPTV allows you to stream multiple free-to-air and overseas TV channels over your broadband connection, none of which counts towards your monthly quota.
For those looking for a bit of extra entertainment or insight, TPG’s IPTV support could well be the tipping point of the deal. Just like iiNet, TPG offers several different plans for each type of broadband subscription, along with optional extras such as a Wi-Fi modem or international calls.
Mobile phone plans
TPG’s mobile offerings are fairly simple and easy to understand. It sells four different 4G plans, all of which come SIM-only and paid month-to-month. The base plan starts off with 1.5GB of data and $550 worth of texts and international calls, while the remaining three all bring unlimited credit, with a maximum of 10GB of 4G data.
TPG utilises the Vodafone network which covers all of Australia’s major population centres, and plans can be optioned with international calls or roaming packs at your discretion. TPG is also currently offering the first month free on all plans – a big incentive to switch, especially for the more expensive offerings.
iiNet offers a fairly similar mobile plan range, suggesting TPG’s influence is already sinking in. Like TPG, it offers four different 4G plans, all of which are SIM-only and come on monthly contracts.
The top three plans all bring unlimited calls and texts, with the base plan making do with $400 of included value and 2GB of data. Their top two plans offer slightly less data and are more expensive than TPG, but justify this with a hefty $300 inclusion of international calls.
The biggest difference between the two is that iiNet also sells handsets – its range consists of top-end smartphones including the latest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models. Each handset can be bought outright, or paid off monthly on a 24-month plan – both methods cost the same, offering you some serious flexibility.
iiNet also offers data-only mobile broadband plans, which range in size from 1.5GB up to 10GB. You can choose from a number of options such as between 4G or cheaper 3G coverage, SIM size, Wi-Fi hotspot hardware (if you don’t have a dongle already) and how to pay for said hardware.
One of iiNet’s big drawcards is its recent addition of iiNet TV with Fetch. In an almost identical move to Optus, iiNet has partnered with Fetch to give you a set-top box and access to a number of entertainment services. These include pausing, recording and rewinding live TV, buying and renting movies and TV shows, and streaming from services such as Netflix, Presto and even YouTube – all without impacting your download quota.
iiNet TV costs $10 per month and you can add it to any iiNet broadband plan. For an extra $19.95 per month, you can add the Entertainment Plus package, which gets you over 35 premium channels such as ESPN and Nat Geo, as well as a selection of 30 free movies each month.
iiNet also offers its personalised ‘techii’ service, in which an iiNet specialist techii will come and set up the internet hardware for your entire home. This includes installing your broadband connection and modem, setting up your wireless network, connecting all your devices, and best of all, teaching you how all of this stuff works!
Both TPG and iiNet also provide moving services. These guide you through the process of subscribing to a broadband connection in your new home, including customer support, plan recommendations and help with the physical setup.
The product sets of TPG and iiNet show some clear similarities, but also many differences which reflect their fundamentally different approaches to running a telecommunications business. We can, perhaps, expect to see more uniformity now that TPG has acquired iiNet. However, it seems for now that both brands are set to retain the individual characteristics that have kept as them as very different propositions to date.