Optus, TPG to share network resources in regions

TPG Telecom will be able to offer more regional mobile services by using Optus infrastructure, like this short-range Small Cell located on a power pole.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS companies Optus and TPG Telecom have signed a new agreement to share mobile services infrastructure in regional Australia.

The regional Multi-Operator Core Network (MOCN) agreement will see Optus provide TPG Telecom with access to the former’s regional radio network, and an arrangement to share spectrum in regional Australia.

What this means, practically, is that TPG Telecom will be able to use Optus’ existing network infrastructure of 2444 transceivers, allowing TPG to dramatically increase its potential coverage of regional Australia, from its current 400,000 square kilometres, to over one million.

Optus gains from the deal by receiving licensing dues from TPG, while TPG can avoid the relatively exorbitant cost of building its own physical regional network.

Once implemented, TPG Telcom’s retail and wholesale customers (including Vodafone, TPG, iiNet, Lebara and felix customers) will use Optus’ 4G and 5G regional network on an equivalent basis to Optus customers.

Optus Interim CEO Michael Venter said the agreement was a significant win for regional Australia.

“Optus and TPG Telecom will be positioned to provide consumers with more choice and better services as we accelerate our investment in the regions.

“The agreement will reduce combined 5G network rollout costs in regional Australia, which will enable the rollout of 5G infrastructure to be completed two years earlier than previously planned.”

“This network sharing arrangement will reset the competitive landscape for mobile services in regional areas and provide Australians with more choice than ever before,” said TPG Telecom CEO Iñaki Berroeta.

Regional mobile users should, however, understand that the MOCN agreement does not mention any specific new infrastructure plans, meaning that only those areas where current Optus towers or Small Cells exist will see any immediate benefit.

Previous NOTA telecommunications reviews have clearly identified what services are currently available in each town.

A similar MOCN agreement was attempted only one year ago, between TPG and Telstra, however, after complaints from Optus, the deal was quashed by the ACCC as being too anti-competitive for Optus’ own regional expansion potential.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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