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TPG says they own the rights to firmware (no root access) to TP-link AC1200 - No VOIP outside TPG

Level 2

TPG: please don’t remove my question. If you do this I will only copy/paste into whirlpool forums discussing the same topic. 


So, I was a very happy and loyal TPG Customer right up until today when I decided to switch to ABB. I swear the only reason I changed ISPs at all is TPG couldn't offer anything faster than 100/40 and I need a gigabit (1000/50) connection to be able to get more out of NDI technology. Technically I still am a TPG customer for another 30 days so I’m using this resource I’m still paying for, to (hopefully) answer questions many users would have, while (hopefully) inviting TPG to answer and correct me, if I am wrong.


So let's start with the first 3-4 years:


TPG supplied me with a modem upon entering into a 2yr contract back in 2017. The modem supplied is the TP-link AC1200. For more than 3 years this modem has been on 24/7 in consistent 33C+ ambient temps here in the subtropics. And it's got guts, somehow I've been achieving 100% of the available speed on my connection (100/40 on 5G, WIRELESS, WITH 20 METRES AND TWO WALLS BETWEEN MY DEVICES AND THE ROUTER!) The inclusions provided for in the CSG are not nearly as generous but TPG and this AC1200 have, in terms of performance over wifi been outstanding. As my TPG supplied AC1200 is network unlocked and supports a gigabit network I figured I would probably go ahead and use it with my ABB service, as this modem really has been the "little engine that could" and I intend to buy more of these units because they just last and last in even extreme weather conditions. This modem/connection combination worked so well for me for so long I was sad to depart from TPG, but my needs prevailed in the end and I took up ABB on their offer of gigabit connection.


My phone service has worked perfectly all these years, not a single problem with it. I just wanted to port my existing phone number with TPG over to ABB and modify the VOIP router settings accordingly. ABB resources suggested TPG may make this difficult so I logged into the AC1200 via web browser to look at the settings. Indeed this cannot be used to connect with ABB's VoIP service. The short explanation; I have no control over the router. I have no right to access the root of the router. I certainly have no right to certain settings such as SU (superuser) credentials that would enable me to unlock the modem for use with ABB, or another VOIP provider, this was confirmed by TPG when I called this afternoon


Apparently I've never been in control. Because the modem firmware contains "intellectual property" that belongs to TPG. We may retain ownership of the modem hardware but TPG say they reserve the right to prevent consumers from accessing root credentials as they are locked (encrypted) inside the firmware that is the property of TPG. Amazing the things that don't occur when one's modem and connection just works and never needs to be checked.


Personally, I like the prospect of having full ownership and control over my router so that knowledge always was going to be a dealbreaker for me the day I caught on, the fact I only caught on the day I cancelled my service, several years later is just poetic. I feel a bit silly assuming I had control all these happy years, but that's just me. Perhaps others will be highly comforted by the inbuilt "protections" encrypted within TPG's firmware.


My overall experience with TPG has been nothing short of outstanding. Truly remarkable performance and value for money.  All "weird" things aside, if TPG ever can offer me an ultrafast broadband bundle for residential I may very well be back, BYO modem in hand.


Any intentions of making ultrafast broadband available to residential customers in the future, TPG?


Hi @Pikachu102 ,


Welcome to the community.


We provide the modem for all our NBN plans as they are sold as an Internet & Home Phone Bundle, the Home Phone component of the bundle is encrypted for security purposes.

If you wish to maximize our supplied modem/router on a different provider you have the option to flush the firmware and install a new one. However, this is beyond of our scope.

Any intentions of making ultrafast broadband available to residential customers in the future, TPG?


Though we cannot really say what's going to happen in the future, we will definitely keep this in mind.


We appreciate your feedback, let us know should you require further assistance.



Level 2

Then why asked the question when you first make inquiries about taking them on as your new Internet provider whether not you and bring your own modem across get one of their modems because that contradicts what they say but not supporting third-party modems for VoIP if you bring your own modem.

Level 2

Yes, this is a big security hole and the reason we got a TPG bill for $2000 of international phone calls to Senagal. TPG played dumb and pretended they didn't kow how this could happen, but we traced IP addresses to overseas, so obviously not us. TPG users don't have access to SIP login details, so no way they could call from Senagal. Internode used to give out SIP details and we could use them on a mobile SIP app, but TPG made the stupid decision of hiding them in the modem, and allowing the whole world to access them with a Superuser password. This is negligent and the ACCC need to investigate such behaviour from TPG. The reason the superuser password is enabled is to allow TPG to remote login and diagnose and update, notwithstanding the security risk it creates for its customers.