After Vocus and M2 Communications announced their merger deal, all eyes turned to troubled mobile operator Vodafone, with TPG mooted as the likely buyer.
Those rumours will get even more legs, with the two companies announcing a services-for-subscriber swap that will implant TPG deep in the Vodafone network.
The no-longer-juniour telco is going to switch its MVNO business – with 320,000 customers – from Optus to Vodafone, in return for putting the mobile carrier's base stations on its fibre network.
The company says it'll put between AU$300 and $400 million into pulling glass to Vodafone's base stations – around 4,000 km of new fibre at $100,000 per kilometre.
It hopes for $900 million from the new contract, which is in addition to the 900 km of fibre TPG already provides Vodafone under a contract that kicked off in 2011.
Vodafone will be hoping the new backbone infrastructure will finally set to rest the Twitter-hashtag #Vodafail, which has haunted the company ever since a notorious collapse of its network in 2011.
Given TPG's hunger for acquisition, it would be no surprise if it took a good look at Voda's network and traffic to see if the number-three mobile carrier was slurpable.
Telstra's juggernaut-like dominance of the Australian mobile market has left both Vodafone and Optus struggling to attract customers. Vodafone's current customer base stands at around 4.9 million and Optus at a little more than 8 million, while Telstra has more than 16 million.
Vodafone's first-half loss for 2015 was $184 million, and it only managed to add 6,000 net customers in the first half of this year. ®