TPG aims for fixed wireless customer base to surpass on-net HFC and FttB


Image: TPG Telecom

If TPG Telecom hits its target for the 2022 fiscal year, it will have around 160,000 customers on its 4G and 5G fixed wireless services, which is a doubling of its existing customer base at the end of 2021.

That would mean its fixed wireless customer base would be higher than the 150,000 it is targeting for its on-net FttB and HFC network, which currently has 135,000 customers. The existence of this network was enough to spook the federal government into legislating a AU$7.10 monthly charge on all fixed lines that are not connected to the NBN and capable of quicker than 25Mbps speeds.

By this time next year, TPG could very well have a larger customer base that is immune from the so-called broadband tax.

The company said in its results that it would launch millimetre wave fixed wireless in the last quarter of 2022, and it could double its 160,000 target in future years without laying out large amounts of capital. For its on-net fixed line, TPG is upgrading its fibre-to-the-basement (FttB) network with G.Fast and looking to push out into more buildings, while at the same time beginning the process for functional separation of the business to allow for wholesale growth.

See also: How Vodafone Australia changed its 5G plans after the Huawei ban

Overall, TPG reported revenue was down 3.1% to AU$5.3 billion for the full year, primarily due to declines in mobile connectivity and hardware stemming from the pandemic. The company said while the mobile market has contracted by 4% from a peak at the end of 2019, TPG was down 12% to the end of 2021. It said, however, it has turned a corner and added 33,000 mobile customers since November.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) were down 3.2% to AU$1.73 billion, and net profit was down 10.6% to AU$110 million.

Earlier this week, TPG announced it picked up a 15-year deal with Yarra Valley Water to manage up to 1 million IoT devices to measure flow, pressure, and water quality on its 20,000-kilometre pipe network.

TPG also signed a billion-dollar deal¬†with Telstra that will see the pair share portions of their networks with each other. For TPG, 3,700 Telstra “mobile network assets” will become accessible to allow it to increase its 4G population coverage from 96% to 98.8% within a defined zone across regional Australia and urban fringes. The deal also includes 5G coverage, and at the same time, TPG will decommission 725 mobile sites within the zone.

Telstra will still maintain one million square kilometres of coverage for itself as a “competitive advantage” as part of the deal, as no other operators have infrastructure in there.

On the Telstra side of the equation, the incumbent telco will get access to equipment already on 169 TPG mobile sites, 4G and 5G spectrum owned by TPG, and the ability to deploy its own equipment on the sites.

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