Australia’s only bank-owned telco shuts down


The only Australian bank to offer mobile phone and home broadband services has shut up shop in the telco space.

Bendigo Bank Telco, which offered competitive postpaid mobile phone plans and NBN subscriptions, has stopped taking new orders, with existing customers transferred to ‘Bendigo Telco’.

Bendigo Telco has been an existing internet service provider for some time, but Bendigo Bank will become the largest shareholder in the telco in a merger due for completion in March.

In a statement released by the bank, a spokesperson cited a rapidly changing telco landscape as reason for the departure of the only bank-owned telco in Australia.

“The structure of the telecommunications industry has changed significantly over recent years, in no small part driven by the advent of the National Broadband Network (NBN),” the spokesperson said. “As a result, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has reviewed the Bendigo Bank Telco business and determined that having a standalone telco company is no longer the best way to participate in the telco market.

“The vast majority of the staff employed by Bendigo Bank Telco have already been redeployed within the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group or will be offered employment at Bendigo Telco.”

Why did Bendigo Bank Telco close shop?

The news of Bendigo Bank Telco ceasing operations may have come as a surprise to some customers, who enjoyed competitive NBN, ADSL and phone plans.

Unlimited data on both the NBN and ADSL could be purchased for around $60, which is about in-line with market rates. Phone plans offered unlimited calls and texts plus 2GB data on board for less than $15, which was well ahead of the standard at the time.

In a recent Canstar Blue survey, nearly half of survey respondents (43%) with a SIM-only phone plan suspected they could be getting a better deal than what their current telco was serving up.

With month-to-month phone plans on the rise and over 30 players in the mobile market, plus more than 100 in the NBN space, Canstar Blue research indicates that customers are more than willing to switch.

New Bendigo Telco offers NBN customers 2000GB data from $65 a month, with mobile phone plans from $11.50 per month.

Bendigo Bank Telco was established in 2000 but a 50% stake in the company was sold to AAPT in 2005, before being bought back by Bendigo Bank in 2013.

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