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Telstra and TPG Telecom strike network sharing deal

Australia’s Telstra and TPG Telecom have joined forces to share their mobile networks and spectrum in a landmark deal that will expand coverage for both telcos

In a landmark deal, Telstra and TPG Telecom have joined hands to share their spectrum and mobile networks over the next 10 years.

Under their multi-operator core network (MOCN) agreement, TPG Telecom will be able to access about 3,700 of Telstra’s mobile network assets, increasing its current 4G footprint from around 96% to 98.8% of the population.

Telstra will gain access to TPG Telecom’s 4G and 5G spectrum, which will allow it to grow its network and increase capacity. It will also obtain access to deploy infrastructure on up to 169 existing TPG Telecom mobile sites, improving coverage for TPG and Telstra customers.

Andrew Penn, CEO of Telstra, said that with more people moving to regional areas as a result of the pandemic, congestion in some areas has increased, adding that the additional spectrum will ensure Telstra customers will experience reduced congestion at busy times.

“Telstra’s network has always been and will continue to be the best network – the structure of the deal ensures that we will continue to differentiate in network leadership for our customers in coverage and services,” he said.

Penn added that the deal will allow Telstra to monetise some of its active mobile infrastructure in areas where population coverage is smaller and more challenging in terms of returns and further investment, and where there are already competitors.

TPG Telecom CEO Iñaki Berroeta said the network sharing agreement would “significantly expand” the telco’s footprint in regional Australia and bolster its customer base in regional and metropolitan areas. “It represents a material uplift in the capability of our network and will provide significant value for TPG Telecom shareholders over the medium and long term,” he said.

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Access to the additional coverage will be automatic for all of TPG Telecom customers and appear to them as being provided by their current TPG Telecom group provider.

Meanwhile, TPG Telecom will continue to operate its own 3G, 4G and 5G networks in metropolitan areas, reaching around 80% of the population, which includes its infrastructure sharing arrangement with Optus in those areas.

It will also decommission the 725 mobile sites it currently operates in the MOCN coverage area, reducing environmental impact, energy consumption, operating costs and future capital expenditure.

If the deal is approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the MOCN is expected to be available to TPG customers by the end of this year.

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