The new Vodafone-TPG merger
After over two years since it was announced officially, the merger between Vodafone and TPG is finally underway. The lead up to the merger has been rife with drama and controversy, including TPG’s demerger from its Singaporean roots and opposition from ACCC. But the path is now clear for the two to merge, with the companies having an upper hand in the ensuing legal tussle with the ACCC and TPG shareholders giving their full-blown support to the deal.
The merger creates a new entity officially known as TPG Telecom Limited, with the shares split 50.1% – 49.9% between VHA and TPG shareholders respectively. With the new merger, TPG will help shore up Vodafone’s fixed-line infrastructure, while Vodafone will up the ante of TPG’s mobile network.
The newly merged entity will come with a mixed bag holding existing brands that are subsidiaries of the parent companies, including iiNEt, Lebara, AAPT, Internode, etc.
How the merger will affect existing Vodafone and TPG plans
To ensure a smooth transition, the merging parties aren’t looking to implement any major changes to existing business models and service plans. Everyone currently using any existing plans from both companies will most likely continue to enjoy their plans without any disruptions in the foreseeable future.
The merger itself is based on the premise of offering more streamlined, convenient connectivity plans to customers. “One of our highest priorities is ensuring our customers experience seamless service as we bring the companies together,” said Iñaki Berroeta, CEO of VHA in an official statement.
But he also referenced new inclusion deals and connectivity infrastructures currently in the pipelines, adding that the merger has “big plans for our brands, products and services to maximise the benefits of the merger, and we look forward to announcing more details in due course.”
What to expect from new plans’ inclusions from the new TPG Telecom
The official details about upcoming deals from the newly-merged entity have so far been sketchy, but we can expect the sub-brands to come up with new competitive bundles. Pointers from current deals also hint at what to expect from the new umbrella telco.
We’re currently not seeing any major moves by both companies to expand infrastructure or raise the ante of their offerings. For instance, Optus and Telstra have been running amok with exclusive deals for the streaming of various sports, but Vodafone remains grounded in its Vodafone TV streaming box offers which it launched a long time ago.
We’re also not expecting any mold-breaking global roaming plan, with Vodafone’s standard $5 per day global roaming offer still ruling the rooster.
What happens to existing long-term contracts with either Vodafone or TPG?
It’s hard to tell if every customer on long-term contracts with either Vodafone or TPG will be given a blanket treatment following this merger. Each sub-brand will most likely determine what to do with their contract customers. Those on a month-to-month contract will have much less to worry about compared to those with several months still left to go on their contracts.
It’s very likely that if any long-term contract plans are abandoned, customers who’ve already bought them will be allowed to see them out but no new customers will have access to them.
How will the merger affect mobile services?
On the day of the merger, Berroeta announced that customers in some areas are already enjoying the benefits of the merger. New TPG Telecom network sites have already been deployed in areas across Canberra and Melbourne to upgrade Vodafone’s mobile network in these areas.
According to Barroeta, a 20 percent increase in capacity stemming from additional spectrum to 99 sites will benefit Canberra customers. He also added further that TPG Telecom would “turn on small cells in the Melbourne CBD to improve performance in busy areas such as Collins Street and Docklands”.
For all the hype and controversies that have accompanied it, the Vodafone-TPG might not bring that much change to the market in general, especially for customers. Besides a change of name and a few new variants of bundles, the merger doesn’t hold many repercussions for customers. There’s a chance that stakeholders might not experience much positive change either – the merger could have a similarities to Vodafone’s last merger with Hutchinson, which was nothing short of a real distraction. There are also concerns that the deal might only leave Vodafone playing catch up in the 5G arena, giving more time for Optus and Telstra to consolidate on their pole position.