Why do I need to be careful about the TPG $10 plan.
Cynically, TPG include 1.5GB of 4G data on the Vodafone network. This is a reasonably low amount for most users these days.
When you have used your 1.5GB, however, you will be charged at 10 cents per MB. That is over $100 per GB !
These crazy overage charges have been the cause of so much complaint that most phone companies, including Optus, Vodafone and Telstra refuse to charge in this way. Do not be fooled by the introductory 6 month offer ! Avoid this plan.
What has changed with TPG ?
The main change that TPG have put in place for their customers is that they now use the Vodafone network. TPG started selling mobile services in 2008 on the Optus network.
Your customer service, the place you get your bill and every other non network feature of the agreement you have with TPG remains unchanged. The plans now include more data.
Are there any phone companies that use the network TPG used to use ?
Amaysim are actually a bigger company than TPG mobile with a substantially larger number of customers. Their customer satisfaction is the best in the industry and their pricing is just as good as TPGs.
Remember, TPG don’t sell contract plans. The most you will have to stay, before you leave, is 1 month. And you can keep your existing phone number when you leave. You really do have a lot of options.
Help ! My TPG coverage has gone bad. What can I do ?
Each pf the phone networks covers some areas better than the others. If you have been given your new SIM card by TPG and moved across to the Vodafone network, it could be that your coverage has suffered. All is not lost.
But it doesn’t end there. In other FAQs on this page, we explain what to do to get the best deal if you have a 3G phone.
You can also get access to the Telstra Mobile Network, now with 4G from Boost. (Read our Boost review)
How will the TPG move from the Optus to Vodafone networks affect me ?
We explain the process that users are being asked to follow in the review on this page – below. Essentially, users are being moved in batches from the Optus to Vodafone networks. This could be a cautionary approach, based on the problems Vodafone had amalgamating services from ‘Three’ when VHA was formed in 2009.
TPG Mobile customers will be sent a new SIM to get them on the Vodafone network. We have more details of the specifics of the process in the article on this page.
Why did TPG change from Optus to Vodafone ?
There were a number of reasons that TPG sited as their motivation for this move. Concerning, few of them actually affected TPG’s customers.
There were, we understand, consistent billing system issues which reduced the profitability of TPGs offers in market. Optus was also pressuring TPG to lower the inclusion in it’s plans because they were ‘too competitive’. This all seems a bit of a nonsense now, of course. Since TPG moved to Vodafone, Optus itself has significantly increased the data that it adds to it’s plans – way beyond, in fact, anything TPG used to have in market.
Does TPG have access to the Vodafone 4G network ?
Yes, it does. TPG is the only MVNO which currently resells the Vodafone 4G network.
What do I do if I only have a 3G phone ?
3G phones are great. One of the advantages of having one is that you are likely to get away with paying less for your phone plan each month if you have one. We explain why that is in this article.
How is Vodafone’s coverage these days ?
It’s actually not that bad. In fact, in metro areas (that’s mostly Australia’s big cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane etc.) independent research says that Vodafone’s coverage is at least as good as Telstra and Optus’.
I don’t know where to begin in moving away from TPG !
We have a Solution Chooser which can help you.
- Offers large amounts of mobile data
- TPG plans are prepaid : Totally predictable
- Use Vodafone 4G network
- AVOID $10 plan ! >$100 per GB extra data
- Backwards step for Optus 4G network users
- Limited range of plans & only 1 network choice
- Better customer service options out there
TPG is moving all of it’s existing 320,000 customers +new subscribers to the Vodafone network. We offer you a suite of options to get better value and get a better 4G experience on the Optus / Telstra Mobile Network. We recommend users avoid the $10 per month plan from TPG – due to the >$100 per GB out of bundle data charge.
Intro – 60 second guide
TPG and Vodafone Australia are partnering together. Since TPG previously resold the Optus 4G network and will now be reselling the Vodafone 3G network, every user will experience a shift in the coverage they have. This project worth is estimated at a billion dollars and will see TPG subscribers ported to the Vodafone Australia network, in exchange for TPG servicing, installing and connecting Vodafone ‘back-haul.’ Insiders say the deal took the better part of a year to negotiate.
- TPG are teaming up with Vodafone Australia means that all existing TPG customers will be ‘ported’ (transferred) to the Vodafone network, over the coming months.
- This is a dramatic change that customers did not choose. Many are leaving TPG behind.
- If existing TPG customers are unhappy with the move to Vodafone, they have a number of sensible options available to them.
- We lay out your key alternatives on the Optus 4G network in the article below.
- We have also included an option on the Telstra Mobile Network.
- We strongly recommend that you avoid their $10 per month plan. It includes a low 1.5GB of 4G data. Beyond that, for data you will be charged 10c per MB. That works out to >$100 per GB !
Why TPG left Optus
It was a bold move for TPG to leave Optus behind and start the migration of it’s customer base to Vodafone’s network. It involved future thinking and an ambitious project. Both Vodafone and TPG are still in the throws of making it happen. Optus’ report card from TPG reads like a litany of incompetence. TPG executives have publicly criticized Optus for a number of ongoing issues.
First among them is the onerous commercial requirements that Optus historically steeped on TPG. For TPG, a company known for the sharpness of it’s pencil, being told by Optus, as they reported they were, that they must reduce the competitiveness of their deals, must be hard to hear. In today’s market place, it seems crazy. All of Optus’ resellers (including Amaysim, Virgin and OVO for example ) are running non stop aggressive acquisition promotions. Taking away TPG’s ability to do the same makes no sense.
But it wasn’t only headline pricing that TPG objected to. Again, publicly, TPG executives chided Optus for consistent, ongoing billing issues. CDRs (Customer Data Records) were provided late by Optus to TPG. The result was that TPG customers could be using the network to make a phone call or download data and TPG wouldn’t know until after it had sent the customer their bill. TPG had to ‘swallow’ the difference.
Why TPG wanted to work with Vodafone
“We’re confident in Vodafone’s 4G core network infrastructure. We took a number of steps to make sure the Vodafone network is in top shape before we committed our customer base to it. That network has a lot of headroom for expansion.”
“There’s two parts of this deal. We as TPG Telecom are selling Vodafone [access to] dark fibre. We’re putting in the infrastructure to carry the traffic,” – Craig Levy, COO at TPG Telecom.
‘As part of the deal, TPG will be providing ‘Back haul’ services to Vodafone. Back haul is simply Fiber Optic cable infrastructure which links the mobile towers your phone talks through, to the network. Purchasing TPG’s ‘Dark Fiber’ back haul prepares Vodafone for ever rising levels of data on it’s network. In the future, Dark Fiber will assist with managing the data from the arrival of a far more connected Industrial Internet (the Internet Of Things.) It will also underpin Vodafone’s 5G services which, the company says, should be ready by 2021.
What does TPG partnering with Vodafone mean to you ?
What does this mean to you ?
“We’re going to be inviting our mobile base. We’re going to give them a bonus period that lets them get a welcome pack and try the network without paying for it. Their access plan will come for free for a period, if it’s an included value plan. “If customers take the new offer from us and they’re not happy, they can choose another alternative.” – Craig Levy, COO at TPG Telecom.
- All existing TPG customers will be ‘ported’ ( transferred, without your consent ) to the Vodafone network.
- The transfer will happen in batches, over the coming months in early 2016.
- You will be sent a new TPG / Vodafone SIM, whether you asked for it or not.
- You will have to replace your old TPG SIM with the new one.
- However, since TPG do not have contract plans, any customer who wants to stay on the Optus 4G network, can simply move either to Optus or another Optus network reseller.
- You are likely to be offered a sweetner (see quote) to entice you to stay with TPG.
But existing customers chose the Optus network – many have concerns
Naturally, many existing TPG customers have concerns. While the Vodafone network has improved a great deal, Optus’ is widely considered of a higher standard. Upgrades of more than $3 billion dollars have been made to the Vodafone network in the last few years. Their press releases suggest that these improvements allow it (the Vodafone Network) to compete directly with the other two major Australian telecoms, Telstra and Optus.
Existing TPG customers have been using the Optus network. TPG simply resold Optus access. This has been the case since TPG Mobile was founded in 2008.
The Vodafone Australia network
In Australia Vodafone and their network covers more than 96% of the metro Australian population, and provides consumers with access to it’s high quality 4G network. Vodafone was among the first Australian major telecommunication companies to introduce virtualised infrastructure. They are also the first company in Australia, to provide their customers with high definition voice calls, over the 4G network.
What other choices do TPG customers have ?
With so many mobile providers operating on different networks in Australia today selecting the best provider for your needs can be a daunting task. We have tried to make choosing a little easier by listing Australia’s mobile carriers and mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), their operational frequencies, and the services they offer.
TPG themselves appear to have sustained a number of serious and ongoing issues in their network reseller agreement with Optus. Moving to Vodafone’s network does provide benefit both to TPG ( in the form of cheaper prices for their customers ) and Vodafone (access to Dark Fiber) which prepares them well for the future.
Their headline offer of a $10 plan including $550 of voice and SMS and 1.5GB of data appears attractive. Unfortunately, for those who take it, large bills seem likely. Cynically, TPG have included 1.5GB of 4G data on the Vodafone network. This is a reasonably low amount for most smartphones users these days. When you have used your 1.5GB, however, you will be charged at 10 cents per MB. That is over $100 per GB ! These crazy overage charges have been the cause of so much complaint that most phone companies, including Optus, Vodafone and Telstra refuse to charge in this way. Do not be fooled by the introductory 6 month offer ! We recommend that you avoid this plan.
However, none of that addresses the very real concerns of TPG customers who signed up with them specifically for cut price access to the Optus 4G network. There are two potential problems. First, Vodafone have a history of mis-managing this sort of transition. It was partly the network migration of ‘3’ customers on to the Vodafone network during the two companies’ 2009 merger which gave Vodafone the capacity management problem resulting in ‘Vodafail‘. They lost more than 1m customers as a result and have never really recovered. Second, Every single TPG Mobile customer will experience a marked difference in their network experience. At the very least ‘some’ of the migrated users will have a worse experience on Vodafone’s network than they did with Optus.
The good news is that there has never been a more competitive time in the Australian phone market. There are a number of Optus 4G resellers on this page alone which can get you back on to Optus 4G with virtually zero hassle. Additionally, there are alternatives for 3G services on Vodafone and 4G services which use the Telstra Mobile Network.
TPG are a phone company which is going somewhere. Since their Vodafone announcement, they have bought iiNet, a rival broadband provider, for $1.56 bn. The extremely tight bond that TPG have put together in this two way deal with Vodafone ensconces them in Vodafone’s strategy. Could this be a step which takes TPG and Vodafone on to a merger of their own ? Having a third telco in Australia which offers both mobile and broadband services could be the competition injection we need. In an already turbo charged commercial environment, TPG / Vodafone might just take us to the next level of competition.
Extra Resources – Articles of use to Prepaid Users
- Prepaid plans now have streamed audio included in them :
You may not be aware of one of the biggest improvements to prepaid plans since they were originally devised. 2016 saw the release of prepaid plans which have streamed audio included in them. If you already have a Spotify, iTunes Music, Google Music or IHeartRadio account, then you might like to find out more about streamed audio in phone plans.
- Entertainment options are becoming common :
You may also have started hearing about the increasing inclusion of entertainment options in prepaid and SIM Only phone plans. We also examine Optus’ mobile phone plan Entertainment options, Telstra’s mobile phone plan Entertainment options and compare the two.
- Prepaid vs postpaid vs month to month :
We’ve given a short explanation on this page but if you want more detail on the types of phone plans in Australia, this is it. In Prepaid vs postpaid vs month to month, we explain and the best value alternatives you have and when it makes sense to use each type.
- Prepaid vs Postpaid –the simple trick to getting the best value :
The tier 1 telcos ( Optus Telstra and Vodafone ) all have both prepaid and postpaid plans. Sometimes they have both types of plan at the same price point.
- Does it make sense to buy a Phone myself and add a SIM ? :
It’s often even cheaper to buy your own phone and add a SIM ( including a prepaid SIM ) to it. We explain how to go Buying a phone outright and adding a SIM.
- Data Rollovers :
Considering a plan with data rollover in it ? We explain why they’re not the real solution to the real problem with prepaid plans.
And, remember, before you buy, read the CIS (that’s the Critical Information Summary–a clearly written definition of what is and is not included in the plans from these phone companies) before you buy. You need to be confident in the plan you choose yourself. You’ll find the CIS on the Vodafone website.
Compare all of our prepaid plans
If you need another network, you might like to check our Best Prepaid Plans Page and compare all the plans ( including every one mentioned on this page. ) A list of best value plans using the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks.COMPARE THE BEST PREPAID PLANS
See all SIM Only plans
If you need another network, for example you’re after an unlimited plan with Telstra coverage, or you live in a city and you’re happy with Vodafone, you might like to check our SIM Only Comparison page and compare all the plans ( including every one mentioned on this page. )COMPARE ALL SIM ONLY PLANS