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Vodafone Hutchison Australia could be bought out by local telco TPG within the next year, taking the telecom market down to just three major players – Telstra, TPG, and Optus – iiNet founder and former CEO Michael Malone has predicted.

Speaking at the Communications Alliance’s Rewind/Fast Forward event in Sydney yesterday, Malone said: “In my opinion, the cost of consolidation’s been a complete loss of personality and differentiation, quality in this industry. 

“What are we left with now? We’re left with five players, and I predict there will be three players in one year.

“At the moment, five players control 97 percent of the market; then there will be three players in a year, and there will be one who has failed, and we can predict who that is going to be. But it’s game over in a year,” he said.

Malone’s comments come as one of the largest of those five players, TPG, moves to acquire iiNet for $1.4 billion – a move opposed by Malone. On March 13, TPG announced its plans to acquire its rival, currently the number three Internet service provider in the country.
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