TPG, or TPG Telecom Limited, to give it its full name, is Australia’s second-largest telecommunications provider, following its merger with Vodafone that was completed in 2020. TPG is now home to a number of household names, including TPG (obviously), Vodafone, iiNet and Internode. While these brands all offer similar services, they are still separate entities, so for the purposes of this review, we’re going to focus solely on the NBN services provided by TPG itself.
As previously mentioned, TPG is Australia’s second-largest telco based on the number of active services, with just over 1.95 million users, representing a 22.4% market share, according to the most recent data published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). However, this figure does include active services across all its brands, including Vodafone, iiNet and Internode. We haven’t been able to track down a figure for just active TPG services, but considering Optus sits in third place with around 1.14 million services, we can make a logical assumption and say that TPG alone will have similar or fewer services.
The internet service provider (ISP) advertises itself as offering “great value internet,” although when comparing its monthly pricing against the competition, it does sit towards the higher end of the budget spectrum. We’ll be investigating if this higher cost yields a better class of service later in this review.
We’ll also aim to determine if TPG, as one of the big three telcos alongside Telstra and Optus, is the one to go for if you want to sign with a household name.
Noteworthy TPG deals
- NBN 50: $74.99p/m
- NBN 100: save AU$10p/m for 6 months (then AU$89.99p/m)
- NBN 1000: save AU$20p/m for 6 months (then AU$134.95p/m)
TPG supports all the NBN speed tiers, from Basic I (NBN 12) all the way through to Ultrafast (NBN 1000) and for plans NBN 12 to NBN 50, TPG advertises the maximum typical evening speed. On the NBN 100 and NBN 250 plans, TPG’s typical evening speed figures are 10Mbps and 40Mbps below the maximum, which is pretty competitive in the current NBN landscape.
It’s also pleasing to see TPG advertise a typical evening speed figure on its NBN 1000 plan of 450Mbps. Not all NBN providers in Australia quote a typical evening speed figure on this speed tier, as they have yet to obtain enough consumer data to formulate one. But, while TPG does advertise a figure, 450Mbps is among the slowest of currently advertised speeds. Telstra, Optus, Aussie Broadband and Origin, for example, all quote speeds of 600Mbps to 700Mbps.
TPG’s NBN plans, including regular pricing and typical evening speeds (correct at time of writing) are as follows:
- NBN 12: AU$64.99p/m (Typical evening speed 12Mbps)
- NBN 25: AU$69.99p/m (Typical evening speed 25Mbps)
- NBN 50: AU$74.99p/m (Typical evening speed 50Mbps)
- NBN 100: AU$89.99p/m (Typical evening speed 90Mbps)
- NBN 250: AU$124.99p/m (Typical evening speed 210Mbps)
- NBN 1000: AU$144.99p/m (Typical evening speed 450Mbps)
TPG offers a separate set of plans exclusively for customers who can connect via fibre-to-the-building (FTTB). These plans are facilitated by TPG’s own private infrastructure network, which was first proposed in 2013. This private network, which operates separately from the NBN, is available in select apartment buildings in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
If you can connect to TPG’s FTTB service — you can only find out by checking your address on the TPG website, as opposed to NBN plan comparison sites such as WhistleOut — then there may also be the possibility of being able to connect to the NBN via another delivery method.
TPG offers just one speed tier, NBN 100, on its FTTB plans (with typical evening speeds advertised as 90Mbps) but within this, there are three bundles to choose from, each with a varying amount of phone calls included.
This writer recently connected to a TPG FTTB plan in an apartment building in Sydney and so far, has regularly been achieving speeds of 110Mbps, even during the peak period of 7pm — 11pm. He could have also connected to the NBN via hybrid fibre coaxial, but installation issues with strata put a halt on this.
As we’ve just covered, TPG offers plans across NBN speed tiers, including NBN 12. While you may think that not many people will want to connect to the slowest speed tier, according to the most recent market share data published by the ACCC, there are still well over 700,000 active connections. The total number of active connections on NBN 12 has been steadily decreasing since December 2020, but there is still clearly a market for it, so for TPG to offer its services is a positive.
TPG also offers services on the Ultrafast and Superfast tiers, and provides more contextual information in its NBN key facts sheet. It does say that maximum download speeds on both the NBN 250 and NBN 1000 tiers are indeed, 250Mbps and 1,000Mbps respectively. This is another positive mark against TPG, as some other telcos have changed the naming of the Superfast tier to NBN 500, with a theoretical maximum download speed of 500Mbps. We’ve previously speculated that this name change is to make advertised typical evening speeds of around 400Mbps look more attractive.
TPG does also indicate that the maximum download speed you’re capable of achieving on the NBN 1000 plan is dependent on the connection type you have. In the key facts sheet, the telco says that if you’re connected via hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) then you can only achieve a maximum download speed of 500Mbps. If you’re connected via fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) however, then your maximum is 990Mbps.
Are advertised speeds on any TPG plan achievable, though? According to the most recent data published by the ACCC, the answer is maybe. In the Measuring Broadband Australia report published in April 2023, TPG was found to deliver 98.3% of plan speeds during all hours and 97% during the busy hours of 7pm — 11pm.
While these figures aren’t quite 100%, when you compare them to the 10 other NBN providers monitored during the same period, they’re actually quite competitive. Only four providers achieve 100% or more during all hours, and three recorded percentages lower than TPG.
Overall, we’re happy with TPG’s performance when it comes to NBN plan speeds.
It’s fair to say that if you’re looking for the cheapest NBN plans around, then you’re not going to be interested in joining TPG. While the telco certainly isn’t the most expensive NBN provider, there are multiple telcos that are more affordable and, on paper at least, offer a similar (or even better) service.
Tangerine for example, is one of the most affordable NBN providers in the country, with all of its NBN plans coming in well below the monthly average. And, while there isn’t any official ACCC data to determine if it delivers advertised speeds, real world customer feedback for the service is largely positive.
Exetel is another to offer some of the most competitively-priced NBN plans. It too has been found to regularly deliver a reliable service and it also has a feature called Speed Boost Days, that allows you to temporarily boost the download speed of your service to the next available tier for free, five times a month. We feel this feature in particular provides great extra value.
It is pleasing to see introductory discounts on NBN 100 plans and higher, and we do also like the fixed-rate cost of NBN 12 — NBN 50 plans, as this removes the potential for any nasty surprises, if you were to forget when your six-month introductory offer was ending.
To provide some greater transparency and context in regards to how TPG’s NBN plans cost compared to other NBN providers, we’ve worked out the average monthly cost (following any introductory discounts) of all NBN plans available through WhistleOut at the time of writing. We’ve not included NBN 12 plans in this comparison.
- NBN 25: Average monthly cost — AU$66.68. TPG monthly cost: AU$69.99
- NBN 50: Average monthly cost — AU$75.74. TPG monthly cost: AU$74.99
- NBN 100: Average monthly cost — AU$91.51. TPG monthly cost: AU$89.99
- NBN 250: Average monthly cost — AU$118.68. TPG monthly cost: AU$124.99
- NBN 1000: Average monthly cost — AU$144.38. TPG monthly cost: AU$144.99
As you can see from the information above, TPG’s NBN plans tend to hover around the monthly average and in some cases, such as with NBN 100, it’s actually cheaper. The two plans that appear to offer the least value are NBN 25 and NBN 250, but considering we’d expect the majority of customers to want to sign up for an NBN 50 or NBN 100 plan, we don’t necessarily see this as a negative.
Interestingly, the same plans on TPG’s subsidiary services iiNet and Internode are more expensive.
As with the majority of other NBN providers, TPG gives you the option of purchasing a preconfigured modem to use with its NBN service. This costs AU$109.95, which includes a AU$10 delivery fee. This is one of the more affordable options compared to other providers, although some — such as Vodafone and Optus — offer theirs on a payment plan, which you only need to pay if you cancel your service before a specified period of time has elapsed.
You do also have the option of using your own modem and TPG does offer an AU$100 rebate, but only if you buy the modem within 30 days before or after applying for a TPG NBN plan. This means if you’ve been holding onto a modem for a couple of years, you won’t be eligible for the modem rebate, as you need to provide proof of purchase.
To determine the reliability of an NBN provider, we can look at official information relating to NBN outages published by the ACCC, as well as real-world accounts from customers on forums such as Whirlpool and review sites including Product Review and Trustpilot.
On both review sites, TPG doesn’t score particularly highly, although reviews on Trustpilot are a mixture of both NBN and mobile services, which are consolidated to give an overall star rating. On Product Review, the majority of reviews relate to customer service and individual cases of customers trying to cancel their plans.
Conversely, there are also five star reviews for customer service, technical support and the speed of service, so it’s always best to take these reviews with a pinch of salt.
As for Whirlpool, we’re a little surprised to find only a small number of forum threads posted relating to download speeds. These threads appear to reflect individual cases of customers questioning subjects such as what speed they should be getting and intermittent latency spikes.
We have found a dedicated thread for TPG’s FTTB service and customers posting there have been mentioning a speed boost they’ve noticed on their service, which has seen it increase to around 110Mbps download (this is likely why this writer is experiencing similar speeds). There is also mention of TPG’s FTTB plan once costing AU$59.99p/m and not the current AU$89.99p/m (if only he’d signed up sooner).
Overall, it seems customers on the FTTB plan are satisfied with the service they receive.
As for official ACCC data relating to outages, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for TPG. The Australian consumer watchdog determines the average number of outages per day, along with the average duration. In the case of TPG, it experienced 0.4 outages per day on average. Only Launtel scored higher with 0.53. All other NBN providers monitored reported fewer outages, with iiNet and Optus coming joint first with 0.19.
Of TPG’s 0.4 average daily outages, 18.1% lasted 30-60 seconds, 27.7% lasted 1-3 minutes, 37.9% lasted 3-10 minutes and 16.4% lasted 10 minutes or more. This data indicates that should you experience an outage, it should at least be rectified relatively quickly.
There are actually some customer accounts of their internet going down, but being reconnected so quickly that they never realised there was an issue in the first place.
TPG doesn’t impose any data caps on any of its NBN plans.
A key factor in one’s decision as to which NBN provider to sign with is how it performs when gaming online, especially when you consider a good majority of gaming servers are located overseas. TPG doesn’t make any bold claims about gaming on its service, not even in the Key Facts Sheet. We’ve previously seen some other NBN providers mention which tiers are best for certain scenarios, such as streaming 4K Ultra HD content, having multiple users connected at once and indeed, online gaming. In TPG’s table, there’s no mention of the latter.
It is worth mentioning that the download speed of an NBN plan is unlikely to have any effect on online gaming performance anyway, as has been pointed out recently by the ACCC itself.
A key measure of an NBN provider’s online gaming prowess is latency and the ACCC recently determined that NSW and the ACT returned the best — or should we say, lowest — latency times in Australia. This doesn’t necessarily mean your NBN provider — TPG in this instance — will perform well in these states, but the data does prove that download speed has little to no effect.
We haven’t been able to find too much information from TPG customers relating to how well their service performs, but official ACCC data published in April 2023 found latency on TPG’s network was 10.3ms across all hours and 11ms during the busy hours. Superloop, Launtel and Exetel all performed better, and Aussie Broadband just pipped TPG, despite being one of the sole telcos to advertise itself as being a great option for gamers.
While some telcos may offer slightly better network optimisation and routing to overseas servers, where you live in Australia is going to have a big impact on the latency speed of your NBN connection. Our advice if you’re looking to sign up for a TPG NBN plan is to go ahead and do so, try it for a month and cancel it if you feel it doesn’t live up to expectations.
TPG NBN plans work on a no lock-in contract basis, so you will be free to leave whenever you wish.
As we alluded to earlier when referencing the FTTB plan, TPG also offers a phone line service which can be added on to any NBN plan. There are four tiers to choose from, starting with a pay as you go option. The three remaining tiers: Oz Talk, Big Talk and Extra Talk, all offer unlimited local and standard national calls. Oz Talk and Extra Talk include unlimited calls to Australian mobiles.
Big Talk includes 100 international minutes to call any landline or mobile number in another country. Extra Talk, however, includes unlimited calls to landline or mobile numbers in 15 countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Oz Talk and Big Talk both cost an additional AU$10p/m, while Extra Talk will set you back an extra AU$20p/m.
Pay as you go, Big Talk and Extra Talk are available as add ons to an FTTB bundle, costing an extra AU$10p/m and AU$20p/m, respectively.
TPG also has a range of mobile plans that make use of the Vodafone mobile network, that you can sign up for even if you’re not a broadband customer. But if you are, then you’re able to take advantage of monthly savings. Broadband customers are able to choose from 25GB, 45GB or 60GB monthly data plans, with the latter having the added benefit of a 5G trial.
These plans cost AU$12.50, AU$15 or AU$20p/m, respectively, for the first six months. They increase to AU$20p/m, AU$25p/m or AU$30p/m for broadband customers. You also get the option of adding unlimited international calls to 37 countries for an extra AU$5p/m.
Cancellation and hidden costs
Because TPG works on a no lock-in contract model, there are no cancellation fees to pay if you decide to cancel your service. However, it should be noted that TPG requires a 30-day notice period if you wish to cancel. TPG isn’t alone in requesting this — Exetel is another example — but it is something that has appeared to have caught out a few customers in the past.
TPG does mention the requirement for 30 days written notice in its terms and conditions and adds that you “must pay for charges for the service up to the end of the notice period.”
We reached out to TPG for clarification on the cancellation process, and the telco had this to say.
"When you request a cancellation, you will need to provide 30 days cancellation. It's up to you that you can keep the service active for the 30 days or you can disconnect service prior to the 30 days. No pro-rata credit on the 30 days notice if you disconnect earlier."
We've asked for follow-up confirmation on the wording of this statement, namely how a customer will be given the option of keeping or disconnecting their service, and if they do indeed need to pay for the 30 day period if they choose to disconnect.
We've also asked for clarification on how a customer is able to cancel, whether they have to call, email or if they can access an option through an online portal.
"If you have an active contract, 30 days notice is not required; but you are required to pay contract break fee instead (50% of the monthly charges that would have been paid between the date of cancellation and the end of the contract period)."
"The billing anniversary is not a factor on the 30 days notice, but it's a factor on the pro-rata credit. As TPG NBN service is prepaid service, any unused portion of the paid month will be credited and used towards the 30 days notice or contract break fee."
We’ve already brought customer reviews into discussion in this review, although these have related more to the reliability of the service rather than the customer support.
As we did mention earlier, however, the majority of negative reviews against TPG do in fact relate to customer service. On Product Review, for example, TPG scores a low 1.9 stars out of 5, based on 4,131 reviews. More than half of these are one star reviews. These reviews do also include those from customers on 5G home internet and home wireless broadband plans, which we know are more susceptible to issues than fixed-line NBN connections.
We’ve seen multiple reviews from customers saying they were able to sign up to a TPG plan relatively easily, but when it comes to cancelling, it’s an arduous process. Customers claim they are constantly transferred to different departments over the course of several hours and even then, they find they are still charged various fees after their service was supposedly cancelled.
As with any online review, these could be isolated cases, and we’d argue it’s fair to say customers are more likely to leave a review with negative comments than positive.
What we do like about TPG is that are multiple channels for you to find help you might need. There's a live chat feature, although this is predominantly reserved for sales enquiries. There's a well-populated support section, and there's also an option to ask TPG to call you back.
Overall, TPG presents itself as a good option, particularly if you live in an apartment building that is serviced by its private FTTB network. TPG’s regular NBN plans are all competitively priced too, and from the reports we’ve seen, coupled with official data from the ACCC, speeds are relatively fast and consistent.
TPG might not be the best option for online gamers, but for anyone else looking for an affordable NBN plan from one of Australia’s big three telcos, TPG comes across as a solid choice.