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Vodafone joins UK multiplay race with broadband rollout

UK mobile operator Vodafone has commenced the rollout a consumer broadband and home phone service, which will improve its position in the UK market as the multiplay era gathers pace.

Vodafone announced its entry into the UK consumer fixed-line market back in June, building on assets acquired from Cable and Wireless. Today the process of delivering broadband to existing UK Vodafone customers commences.

The announcement refers to how “Vodafone’s nationwide fibre optic, business-grade network reaches exchanges which pass around 22 million premises across the UK,” but it’s not clear how much of the network is owned by Vodafone, as opposed to leased from BT, or possibly even Virgin Media. The highest potential download speed advertised is 76 Mbps.

The Vodafone Connect mobile app gets a fair bit of attention in the announcement too, as it allows customers to apportion extra bandwidth to certain devices, to boost wifi signal, and to set limits on wifi use.

“We started our broadband journey with an exclusive offer available only to a few Vodafone customers,” said Cindy Rose, Consumer Director at Vodafone UK. “We have now extended this to all of our millions of customers as our way of saying thank you for their loyalty. We know our customers depend on us to stay connected, and now we can satisfy their needs both at home and on the go.”

“We have had great feedback on our broadband service from the customers involved in our regional launch,” said Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of Vodafone UK. “We are really pleased that they are finding the speeds as fast as they hoped for, while the Vodafone Connect companion app gives them an unprecedented level of control over their devices. We are looking forward to many other customers taking us up on our great offer and joining us on our journey to be the UK’s leading providers of entertainment services.”

“Vodafone’s move into the broadband market shows how traditional telecoms operators are seeking out opportunities to horizontally integrate access networks – fixed and wireless,” said Mark Windle, Head of Marketing at OpenCloud. “In the broader sense it is mobile, fixed-line and Wi-Fi all coming together to offer complete and cost-effective connectivity packages.

“In doing this, Vodafone will be able to keep their customers connected via their network for much more of the time. BT’s acquisition of EE will help achieve a similar goal, but if all providers are heading that way then differentiation will need to be found in service innovation. After all, the services are really what the subscribers want – access is somewhat of a commodity these days.”

The point about services is well made and it’s telling that Hoencamp chose to conclude his comment on that note. Merely bundling fixed and mobile will probably not be enough to successfully compete in the mutliplay era and BT is showing the way with its heavy investment in unique content. It’s currently not at all clear how Vodafone will go about becoming the UK’s leading provider of entertainment services but it will be interesting to find out. Here’s the pricing.

Standard price (available to non Vodafone customers later in the year) Existing Vodafone Mobile customers
ADSL (up to 17Mbps)

(18 months contract)

£10.00 £5.00

(£2.50 for 12 months)

Fibre 38Mbps

(18 months contract)

£20.00 £15.00

(£7.50 for 12 months)

Fibre 76Mbps

(18 months contract)

£25.00 £20.00

(£10.00 for 12 months)

Broadband usage Unlimited Unlimited
Calls Evening & Weekend included (landline calls) Evening & Weekend included (landline calls)

Vodafone Pay monthly Red customers: Anytime & Mobile 300 mins as well

Line rental £16.99

Or Line Rental Saver £163.10 – 12 months upfront for 20% discount

£16.99

Or Line Rental Saver £163.10 – 12 months upfront for 20% discount

Online security F-Secure SAFE free for 6 months (up to 5 devices) and then just £39.99 a year (RRP £79.99) F-Secure SAFE free for 6 months (up to 5 devices) and then just £39.99 a year (RRP £79.99)

Visit the world’s leading conference and exhibition focused on fixed mobile convergence – Broadband World Forum 2015 – in London on 20-22 October.

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