TPG merger with Vodafone Australia ‘to complete within months’

TPG merger with Vodafone Australia ‘to complete within months’

Inaki Berroeta VHA.jpg

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) will complete its merger with rival company TPG Telecom by the middle of the year, so that it can speed up its 5G plans.

Iñaki Berroeta (pictured), CEO of VHA, said the merger will create “a third, fully-integrated telecommunications company”, able to compete with Optus, owned by Singapore’s Singtel, and Telstra.

Berroeta and David Teoh, the head of TPG Telecom, were reacting to the decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) not to appeal against a court decision last month that the merger could go ahead.

The ACCC said this morning that it was “disappointed” by the court’s decision, but had no grounds to appeal.

The merger means that VHA – a joint venture between the Vodafone group and CK Hutchison, which used to own 3 Australia – will include TPG Telecom’s Australian and subsea operations AAPT, iinet and Pipe Networks.

But the merger also means the combined company will have the resources to continue its 5G plans. Berroeta said: “We have ambitious 5G rollout plans. The more quickly the merger can proceed, the faster we can deliver better competitive outcomes for Australian consumers and businesses.”

VHA has already switched on its first 5G sites, he said today, and plans a rollout across major cities in the next few months.

The merged business will “strengthen and speed up 5G roll out to compete in the marketplace”, said Teoh. TPG has an existing 4G network – but because it uses Huawei kit it is not allowed to use a software upgrade to convert it to 5G, as the Australian government has banned Huawei from all 5G networks in the country.

“There are complementary assets from our dark fibre infrastructure and also the small cell infrastructure that we’ve built,” said Teoh.