Telstra share price slides as Optus exec ramps up calls for TPG deal to be canned

Why is Optus concerned about Telstra’s plans with TPG?

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Key points

  • The Telstra share price has descended slightly today 
  • A major competitor has ramped up opposition to the company's deal with TPG 
  • Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, now an Optus executive, voiced her resistance to the plan in a tweet and website post 

The Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) share price is falling slightly today amid high level resistance to its proposed agreement with TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPG).

Telstra shares are currently slipping 0.13% and are trading at $3.885. For perspective, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is falling more than 1% today.

So which Optus executive is putting Telstra under the pump today?

Gladys Berejiklian chips in

Telstra is facing pressure on its proposed network sharing agreement with TPG from a high-profile Optus executive.

Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has today voiced her opposition to the plan with a Tweet and post on the Optus website. Berejiklian is now on the executive team at Optus serving as managing director of enterprise, business and institutional.

Optus is Telstra’s major competitor for wireless services in Australia. Earlier this week, it emerged Optus may be planning to list on the ASX.

In her first tweet since stepping down as NSW Premier, Berejiklian said:

We put our customers first at Optus. The proposed Telstra/TPG merger is a backward step for millions of Australians.

The deal between Telstra and TPG, announced in February, would provide Telstra with access to TPG’s spectrum on the 4G and 5G networks. TPG would get access to 3,700 of Telstra’s mobile network towers under the plan. At the time, Telstra said:

The agreement demonstrates best-practice asset utilisation and a commitment to
rationalising our operations to deliver a better customer experience, while increasing capital
efficiency.

However, Berejiklian said if the TPG and Telstra merger goes ahead, customers would have “less choice” and face “higher prices”. In a post on the Optus website, Berejiklian elaborated:

Our regions need more telecommunications investment, better connectivity, and improved services – and the proposed Telstra / TPG network merger is a very big step backward.

The proposed merger risks these advantages and the future ones and with that, our nation’s economic potential.

Optus announced this week it has lodged a submission opposing the plan with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

Telstra share price snapshot

The Telstra price has climbed 3% in the past 12 months, while it is falling nearly 7% year to date.

In contrast, the benchmark ASX 200 has shed close to 9% over the past year.

Telstra has a market capitalisation of nearly $45 billion based on today’s share price.

Motley Fool contributor Monica O'Shea has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Telstra Corporation Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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