Vodafone is Australia's third largest mobile telco, trailing stronger competitors Optus and Telstra. TPG is a telecommunications company with a strong national data network and plenty of existing high-speed infrastructure. The two have teamed up in a $1 billion deal that sees TPG's fibre network carrying Vodafone mobile network traffic, and it might be the first move in a larger partnership or even a merger.
According to the AFR, Vodafone is using TPG's Australia-wide network of dark fibre — to carry the data generated by its mobile network in a $1 billion deal over 15 years. In exchange, TPG will re-sell Vodafone's 4G mobile service under its own name (as a MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator) and ditch its existing deal with Optus.
The new deal will see TPG provide data backhaul to 3000 Vodafone Australia mobile cell towers and sites in the initial phase, covering approximately two thirds of the number-three mobile telco's network. The move will require TPG to extend part of its dark fibre network, by around 4000km according to iTnews, but will mean Vodafone has the ability to expand its mobile network bandwidth and capacity based on mobile networking technologies like 5G rather than being restricted by the price it paid other dark fibre operators to move data around the country according to transmission size.
Until today, TPG used Optus for its contract-free, SIM-only mobile calls, text and data plans, but the telco's T4G plan critical information summary has already been updated with references to Vodafone's 2G/3G/4G mobile network — carrying 320,000 mobile network customers across with it. TPG is launching new plans with Vodafone coverage, starting at $19.99 per month with 1.3GB of data and $400 value of calls and SMSs.