Vodafone and TPG are two of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies. Providing mobile phone, landline and internet service to millions of Aussie customers, each commands a sizeable market share in pursuit of Optus and Telstra.
Following TPG’s explosive growth in the past few years, and its recent high-profile acquisition of iiNet, reports suggest that Vodafone may be the next company that TPG would look to purchase. The two telcos already have history together, having made a deal in late 2015 for Vodafone to utilise TPG’s fibre network to carry its data, in exchange for TPG migrating its mobile phone customers to the Vodafone 4G network.
So what might a merge between the two telco giants mean for consumers? Let’s assess their offerings and see what’s what.
The biggest difference between the two is that TPG is an internet service provider (ISP) and Vodafone isn’t. TPG is one of just four major companies in Australia (along with Telsta, Optus and the M2 Group) which actually own and operate their own end-to-end network infrastructure.
TPG provides home and small business broadband products through the TPG brand, as well as through subsidiary company iiNet, which is famed for its customer service. Both TPG and iiNet are market leaders in Australia’s ongoing transition to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
TPG also offers enterprise and government connection services through TPG Enterprise, as well as wholesale services through the AAPT brand. It’s for this reason that Vodafone, a provider of purely wireless services, was so keen to utilise TPG’s data-carrying capabilities. TPG offers ADSL2+ in both bundles and as a naked broadband connection, as well as NBN connectivity in some areas. Here is a selection of TPG’s NBN plans.
Phone plans compared
Both TPG and Vodafone offer prepaid and postpaid mobile phone plans. In a reverse of the broadband situation, it’s Vodafone which owns and operates an extensive 3G/4G network, covering around 96% of Australians and serving an estimated 5.4 million customers. TPG, by contrast, operates as a mobile virtual network operator (MNVO) which utilises Vodafone’s network to provide its own mobile plans, having recently transferred the service from Optus.
Postpaid phone plans
Vodafone offers postpaid plans on both a SIM-only basis and with a mobile phone included. The handset plans come on 24-month contracts, whilst SIM-only plans can be subscribed to on a monthly, 12 month or 24 month basis. All of Vodafone’s plans come with unlimited standard national calls and unlimited texts worldwide, and plan inclusions increase with both price and contract length. The monthly plans range from 500MB for $30/month up to 10GB for $80/month, whilst a two-year contract ranges from 500MB for $25/month all the way up to 16GB for $85/month.
Vodafone plans also come with a range of features and bonuses, including the two-month Data Workout, the famed $5 Roaming service, and either an inclusion of Qantas Frequent Flyer points or a 12 month subscription to one of several streaming services.
TPG’s phone plans, by contrast, are a lot less complex. All four come on a month to month basis, and include unlimited standard calls. The cheapest, at just $19.99/month, brings 1.5GB of data and $550 of included text and international call value; the most expensive plan costs $39.99/month for 10GB.
Check out a snapshot of Vodafone and TPG plans below:
Prepaid phone plans
Vodafone offers three different types of prepaid plans – Combo plans, Pay As You Go Plus, and their new MyMix tool which lets you create your own custom plan. These plans are available as SIM starter packs or recharges, with MyMix only available on the former.
Combo packs provide you with post-paid level inclusions of calls, texts and data with the flexibility of prepaid, whilst Pay As You Go Plus is a more traditional prepaid offering that gives you the exact dollar value you pay for as credit to use on whatever you wish. These recharges also come with a 365 day expiry date, as well as a large inclusion of free calls to other Vodafone mobiles.
Finally, Vodafone’s new MyMix tool lets you create your own prepaid plan. Simply select your expiry period, data allowance (with a bonus 2GB as standard), national calls and international calls, and Vodafone will combine them to give you a custom pre-paid plan at an affordable price.
Where to get the best value?
Regardless of whether TPG’s acquisition of Vodafone is a done deal or just speculation, the fact is that both companies have plenty to offer to each other and to all Aussie telco customers. TPG’s fixed-line broadband is great if you’re after an affordable ADSL2+ connection or fast NBN speeds, and its cheap monthly mobile plans are full of value.
Vodafone makes up for its lack of home broadband infrastructure with a comprehensive mobile network and a huge range of post-paid and prepaid phone plans to choose from. From a dirt-cheap weekly prepaid SIM to a massive mobile plan chock full of data, credit and bonus subscriptions, Vodafone really does offer something for everyone. The question is: Could TPG and Vodafone be even better together?