Telstra-TPG network merger will leave regional Australia with higher prices, worse service, and less resilient communities.
Optus calls on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to oppose the effective merger of Telstra and TPG’s regional and rural mobile networks.
Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said if the ACCC approves this network merger, it will leave regional Australia worse off by further strengthening Telstra’s already-dominant position.
“This arrangement is not in the best interest of Australian communities,” said Ms Bayer Rosmarin. “It massively advantages the incumbent provider and risks creating a regional monopoly reminiscent of the old Telecom days and entrenching the city-country divide.
“Competition is the cornerstone of a strong, vibrant economy. This arrangement will significantly lessen competition and lead to higher prices, poorer services and less communications infrastructure.
“Under the proposed agreement, Telstra will be paid to face less competition and will gain unprecedented control over our scarce national spectrum assets. Arguments from Telstra and TPG that slapping a new logo on top of the Telstra network creates competition won’t fool anyone.”
At a time when Australia needs more communications infrastructure, TPG has already announced it will shut down more than 700 telecommunications towers in major country centres like Tamworth, Gladstone, Shepparton and Whyalla as part of its arrangement with Telstra.
“If approved, this network merger will also lead to less resilient communities as they will have fewer alternatives to rely on in an emergency,” said Bayer Rosmarin. “During the recent bushfires and floods, we have seen time and again just how critical backup networks are.”
For over thirty years, Optus has been investing in an alternative national mobile network and keeping the large incumbent, Telstra, honest.