Unlimited 100Mbps for $89.99: TPG equals top NBN plan



news TPG has launched a new plan on the National Broadband Network fibre infrastructure which appears to match the existing best option on the market from rival Exetel, with the national broadband provider also now offering an unlimited option at speeds of 100Mbps for just $89.99 per month.

Up until now, Exetel was the only national broadband provider which offered a high-end NBN plan at 100Mbps with unlimited download quota. That plan was launched in February this year and immediately appeared to be the best NBN fibre broadband plan on offer in Australia. At that stage, TPG also offered unlimited broadband plans on the NBN, but only at speeds of 12Mbps, while other providers such as Dodo only offered unlimited plans on an “off-peak” basis, and rival providers such as Optus, Telstra and iiNet offered plans which appeared to cost significantly more and offer less benefits than the Exetel option.

However, buried in last week’s financial results announcements (which were primarily covered by the media in terms of TPG’s plans to deploy Fibre to the Basement infrastructure throughout Australia) was a slide showing that the company has launched a new NBN plan featuring unlimited data usage and 100Mbps speeds for $89.99 a month. You can see the full PDF here.

For an additional $10 per month, customers can receive unlimited local calls and “standard” national calls to mobiles, as well as 100 international minutes per month, while for an extra $20 per month, customers can also receive unlimited calls to standard Australian mobiles and unlimited international calls to a set group of countries.

TPG also simultaneously cut the price of its existing 12Mbps unlimited NBN plans by $10 (from $69.99 to $59.99). The same additional telephone options also exist.

The continued existence of cut-rate broadband plans available over the NBN, which are priced at extremely similar levels as current ADSL broadband plans but offer radically superior services — also calls into question the ongoing claim by the Coalition that broadband prices over the infrastructure will be more expensive than current broadband packages.

The cheapest broadband plans on the NBN start around the $30 mark, and NBN plan prices over the past several years have only become more affordable as cut-rate players such as TPG, Dodo and Exetel have provided cheap plans in competition with higher-priced providers such as Telstra, Optus and iiNet.

“Of course it is a fact that the biggest barrier to broadband access is not technology (thats important of course) but income,” wrote Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a statement on his website last month.

“Households in the bottom 20% of incomes are ten times more likely NOT to have access to the internet than those in the top 20% So affordability matters and because our approach to the NBN will be $32 billion cheaper to complete, it will also be much more affordable. The strategic review concluded that for NBN Co to get the 7.1 percent return Labor promised it would need to raise internet charges by up to 80 percent.”

“So if you were a person living in an area with poor broadband and were on lower income than average the consequence of Labor’s approach is that you would wait longer to get better broadband and when you got it, it would be much less affordable. A lose – lose you might say – not to speak of the additional cost to the taxpayer.”

“Some people have said to me they don’t care how long it takes or much it costs – they want to get fibre to the premises. That rather reckless attitude might suit someone who had pretty good broadband now and a high income, but if you have no broadband now and don’t have a high income you wouldn’t be so blase.”

In mid-2012, I wrote an opinionated article arguing that, because of the high quality of the NBN’s fibre platform, competition amongst retail players would rest almost entirely on price. At the time, I wrote:

“If I think about the world of the NBN, I think about signing up with TPG or Dodo for a 100Mbps plan that will probably offer me a terabyte of quota for something like $50 to $60 a month. Because when the fibre cable running to my premises will be so fantastic, there will be no more need to keep paying top-tier ISPs insurance money to ensure a steady service or for value-added products; that reliability will just come built-in, and the best value-added broadband products will come from global suppliers.”

It appears that this scenario is precisely what we are starting to see here: Cut-rate providers like TPG offering incredible deals on the NBN’s fibre infrastructure. 100Mbps with unlimited quota for $89.99 a month? I suspect most Australians who use the Internet at all would see that as an incredible deal. Now if only the infrastructure extended to my premises …

Image credit: Mike Gieson, royalty free


    • Considering I’m in an HFC area:

      *swears in the general direction of Turnbull’s office*

      • We can chip in for a Fiber to the Mr.Whippy van and drive around streets and let people plug-in while serving ice cream.. mmm

  1. “…customers can receive unlimited local calls….”
    I assume that means they receive the ability to make unlimited local calls, as opposed to just receiving calls?

  2. This makes me happy. Was chatting to some folks doing remediation in my area yesterday, and they expect the fibre to be active in the next 2-3 months where I am.

    As I’m with TPG, the timing is excellent as I was dredding having to figure out what I’d used their email addy to register for.

    Was some interesting info they had to share, but I’ll save that for another time…

    • but I’ll save that for another time…

      but we’re all here already.

      don’t leave us hanging… spill it.

      • Well, the short summary is that the situation may not be as dire as we fear. You’d have to trust the info from a couple of contractors, and understand how Wollongong is laid out to understand, so its not worth the fine detail here, but it definitely looked promising. Bit more credibility that Turnbull WILL honor contracts as we understood it.

        To expand that a little, and risk a thread of debate from people that dont know the area, Wollongong is laid out in a long string of exchanges, one after the other. Theres very little sideways movement, its all one long string from the north to the south, and a loop around the lake. Basically, very few boundaries.

        So, for those exchanges where work had started pre-election, it seems the plans of Labor make it very hard if not impossible to roll FttN out as well. So their entire footprint should be FttH, despite our fears to the contrary. The fine detail where I live specifically shows how much more important that is, but it would be lost here. Suffice to say that while only one Wollongong segment has been done to date, the result should be that the other 5 get done as well.

        Thats not all the exchanges here, but its 3 key ones, and if the same logic applies everywhere, it should mean FttH rollout for a good 18 months to 2 years still.

        I’ll believe it when I see it, but them doing remediation work in my segment (2WLG-02) adds plenty of credence. If the “honor contracts” only applied to the last pullthrough, that work wouldnt have happened yet. It would have been delayed over and over until the FttN plans were in place.

        Based on their info, that carries forward to all the other segments of 2WLG, 2DAP, and 2COR where FttH has been rolled out to brownfields.

        End result for me personally is that I should see FttH roughly around July or August..

    • Contention ! No single connection is backed by the same size CVC, it’s pretty standard.

    • The interesting question will be performance in peak periods (e.g. 6pm – 10pm). If congestion occurs then paying for 100Mbps will be a waste if your speeds are closer to 12Mbps (or slower). To make unlimited viable, TPG need to attract a high number of light downloaders to counteract the heavy downloaders.

      12Mbps is $59.99 and 100Mbps is $89.99. So $30 extra for 8x the speed. $15.40 (inc GST) will be go straight to NBNCo in AVC. CVC is currently $20/Mbps so there isn’t enough revenue even for a full 1Mbps.

      • The breakeven contention ratios for the 100Mbps and 12Mbps services are not as high as you may think. The ratio are ( 30.5 users) 30.5:1 for 100Mbps vs (90 users) or 10.8:1 in bandwidth terms for 12Mbps
        ….Of course this is for a break even….
        But at 80:1, the 100Mbps service could in theory make 46% profit before backhaul and admin costs
        12Mbps could make 32% based on 700 users, effectively 84:1 bandwidth contention

        Contention ratios of 80:1 have been discussed in forums and various places as the normal ratio for residential access, with up-to 250:1 mentioned as being high.

        As long as the traffic use is bursty, it’s quite possible that high contention ratios are very workable and not noticeable. Latency and TCP/IP MTU and ack/nak cycles do reduce the ability to saturate a line.

        If I download a large file in 1/10th of the time because I have 10x speed increase, I also use the CVC for 1/10th less time…the problem may start when I decide to download 10 such files at once or in quick succession. I have certainly the pattern in LAN deployments where traffic becomes more bursty when the line speed increases – simply because the transfer is completed more quickly. I guess time will tell.

        The problem for NBN and TPG and other RSPs is that it’s better to have a lot of users, to allow the traffic to be distributed better over time to manage congestion, but the NBN roll out has small number of users in different locations covered by different POIs and CSAs, thus spreading a small number of users over multiple CVCs

        Contention with voice circuits was addressed by a famous Mr Erlang who derived a number of formulae. How they apply to broadband I could not say.

        • Thanks for an excellent argument on why speed tiers should be removed and that removing speed tiers can in fact improve network performance for everyone.

          My word of caution is that companies tend to attract a certain type of customer and if TPG don’t have enough light users to support high contention it is unlikely to be pretty. Unlike most resources, it is easy to consume bandwidth with little effort (e.g. torrents).

  3. What I love about Malcolm Turnbull stating that internet prices need to rise by 80% in order to make it profitable is this one inconvenient truth.

    I currently pay 50 dollars for internet access. But I *actually* pay 85 dollars due to my telephone rental.
    I don’t even have a telephone plugged in.
    By my quick maths if I paid 85 dollars for my nbn connection my price has risen 70%!!
    If I move to this 100mbps TPG plan for 89 dollars….I have increased my upload speed by 40 times. And my download rate by 6 times all for an increase of Malcolm’s magical 80%! (Ok really 78%).

    • If I could get the 12mbps plan my costs would go down by a couple of dollars per month, while doubling my download speed. I sync at around 6/0.8 on my TPG ADSL 2+ so 12/1 can’t be worse. I only have a dial tone because it was required at the time I signed up.

    • However NBNCo’s annual $760b lost is covered by taxpayers.

      Renai writes:
      “…also calls into question the ongoing claim by the Coalition that broadband prices over the infrastructure will be more expensive than current broadband packages.”

      Again if the projected NBNCo ROI was ever to be realised (IMO it never will) the retail costs would have to be multiples of that charged today.

    • However NBNCo’s half-yearly $715m lost is covered by taxpayers.

      Renai writes:
      “…also calls into question the ongoing claim by the Coalition that broadband prices over the infrastructure will be more expensive than current broadband packages.”

      Again if the projected NBNCo ROI was ever to be realised (IMO it never will) the retail costs would have to be multiples of that charged today.

  4. Is there any point having 100Mbps access speed if they don’t have the peering to support it? I’m currently on ADSL2+ with a budget provider and can’t get more than 1-2Mbps in peak times if I want to get out of their network…

    • That’s a fair point. It will be interesting to learn what the contention ratios, or the real-world speeds, are on these unlimited 100Mbps plans.

    • Are you suggesting TPG skimp on provisioning? I suggest the die hard TPG fans will troll you for that. Look at Whirlpool and all those making complaints of that sort. They get inundated by fanbois saying how they get full speed all the time and reps asking about interfering hot water heaters. It couldn’t be contention, how could it? TPG refuse to acknowledge the word exists.

      • No, not TPG. I’m with another budget provider. Just that my experience makes me skeptical…

  5. Meanwhile, those of us without access to the NBN will just have to continue paying the same amount for 10% (if that) of the download bandwidth and 2.5% of the upload speeds… all while we wait for an unknown upgrade*

    *may or may not result in an upgrade of speeds

    This just makes me want to cry. 100/40Mbps would seriously make a huge difference to the way I work and deliver media to my clients. But I guess as Malcolm said, the only sane and logical solution is to sell the house and move to Blacktown or whatever other bloody NBN rollout sites currently exist.

    Shame on you Malcolm, shame.

    • See my post above. I’m not sure what the final outcome will be, but those “lucky few” may end up being more than you think. Numbers:

      7% get fixed wireless or satellite.
      22% get FttH as greenfields.
      The remaining 71% is the contentious part. People assume that whole lot will get FttN, but they wont.

      Honoring contracts means that of the remaining 71%, a portion are going to get FttH, and it will make sense for those exchanges to just finish their footprints with that technology. Thats the beauty of how Labor rolled it out.

      So you may see another 30% of the population (note: random guess) get FttH as a result, and you end up with more people getting FttH than FtTN. Even if its just another 10%, thats still roughly 1/3rd the population overall. I think that because of how Labor started the rollout, its going to end up quite a bit more than 10% more.

      At some point, they have to consider that its going to be simpler to just continue with FttH.

      • “At some point, they have to consider that its going to be simpler to just continue with FttH.”

        It may be simpler, it may even be faster or cheaper.

        But it’s never going to be politically palatable to the Coalition, so it’ll never happen, no matter the cost to the country.

  6. I am not sure this report is entirely credible. TPG have been rumoured to offer NBN plans for a long time, there is also no evidence of the 12Mbps plan you describe.
    It’s been discussed on Whirlpool since October 2013, (http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=2169307) and no TPG rep has ever said anything about 12Mbps.
    The presence of plans in the annual report seems to be an ongoing thing that is borderline misleading to investors. FTTB rollout work may be happening on some scale, likely trial – but there is little to no information in the public domain.
    TPG have not appeared in NBN RSP lists on mynbn.info (http://www.mynbn.info/rsp/list) Since TPG took over AAPT, it is possible they may use AAPT’s NBN connections, customer volume and B2B systems to bootstrap the exercise, but there is no evidence to-date that TPG are or have been an RSP on NBN at all.

    • “I am not sure this report is entirely credible.”

      It’s in a statement made to the Australian Stock Exchange. That’s as credible as it gets.

      • You must mean the HY14 results presentation. Very similar to the FY12 presentation which also included an NBN pricing panel.
        Those presentations are provided without commentary, they could reflect ideas, there is no timeline stated or implied, they could even be things that were considered and abandoned.

        Where exactly are the 12Mbps plans ? They are not on the website, neither whirlpool reps or TPG call centre / sales people acknowledge existence of any NBN plans when customers call to ask, and TPG customers report having to churn away from TPG as NBN rolls out in their area.

        Is there an official statement from TPG on the matter to confirm or clarify the assertions ?

        This report starts with a very unambiguous “TPG has launched a new plan ” and includes “TPG also simultaneously cut the price of its existing 12Mbps unlimited NBN plans” both of which appear to have no more evidence to support them than the pricing panels in the presentation.
        Such a ‘launch’ one would think would be accompanied by some kind of information on their website, but there are no NBN plans on their website at all.

        As stated, there is no evidence that any of this is actually happening, yet there is evidence that both statements are incorrect.
        The commentary to go with the slides could be “here are some ideas we have for NBN, but we simply cannot make the numbers work until we can connect 100,000 people overnight, but the pictures look good and make people excited, maybe sometime in the future”

          • Would be interesting to see their response to you Renai, I have been with them for 10 years, have good adsl2 at my Central Coast residence, but have asked their Whirlpool reps a few times should I hold off going with iINet or others as Gosford cuts over to the NBN in October, stock answers “no plans available at this time, we will let you know as soon as we have anything to announce’

            Some have reported that when cancelling out they get a response “Why are you leaving, we’ll have NBN plans in two weeks”. This has been reported for over a year. Very frustrating…

    • Business Fibre has a guaranteed 1:1 contention ratio, as well as a very responsive and proactive support system (our TPG fibre connection was “flapping” and they called us to troubleshoot before we even knew there was a problem). It’s also using their own PIPE fibre – no leasing anything from anyone else.

      • They are low end corporate products (but fully supported by corporate and enterprise support teams)
        I’d presume the fttb and nbn resell will be looked after consumer/soho team.

        Much like Bigpond and Telstra

  7. hi everyone,

    FYI one or more representatives from a small ISP called ‘AusBBS’ have posted a number of comments on this article promoting their own ‘Unlimited’ NBN plans. I haven’t previously covered these plans or the company itself (much, although its launch was covered here), because of the very small nature of the company. I didn’t know about its unlimited NBN plans.

    I’ve deleted these comments, because Delimiter’s comments policy usually prohibits company representatives from promoting their own services in the site comments. However, I will mention the company’s plans in future articles about ‘unlimited’ plans on the NBN. You can find AusBBS’s plans online here.



  8. Just try and sign up to these TPG nbn plans if yoy are in a nbn live area. Seems these plans are offered to a select few areas, and tpg lead current customers on for months about not leaving as nbn plans were coming soon. What a con!

  9. I tried TPG plan 100 unlimeted. it is fake. i have bad experience with TPG the speed does not reach 44 m for download with my plan 100 m. trust me it is wasting your money and your time to call support team

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