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TPG might bid for spectrum: reports

Junior telco dons the 'red underpants'

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Australia's spectrum auction may have had a dark horse entry, with reports emerging that TPG has registered as a bidder.

The junior telco claims more than 600,000 broadband subscribers and is already a mobile reseller with 300,000 subscribers. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a “senior telco industry executive” named TPG as having registered for the auction.

In line with previous spectrum sales, the auction process, which began Tuesday April 23, is being kept secret until it's completed in May. The newspaper was not told which frequencies TPG is interested in for its mobile broadband – it could slot in at 720MHz within the 4G spectrum or higher up the dial in the 2.5GHz range.

The profitable but media-shy company's current mobile services are resold from Optus. According to TPG's latest financials, its VNO (virtual network operator) activities generated just $AU31.6 million in first-half 2013 revenue out of a total of more than $AU320 million, yielding a monthly ARPU (average revenue per user) of just $17.56, something the company would hope to grow if it were to invest in its own network.

Through its acquisition of the PIPE Networks fibre network, TPG already has fibre to Vodafone mobile facilities in at cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, giving rise to speculation that as a spectrum owner, TPG could deploy its kit on Vodafone towers. ®

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