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Summary:

A mobile operator facing the prospect of slowing growth does a lot of strange things – overpay for a company in emerging growth market for instance. Or start moving out of core businesses, chase the IMS dream and get into the broadband business. And Vodafone fits […]

A mobile operator facing the prospect of slowing growth does a lot of strange things – overpay for a company in emerging growth market for instance. Or start moving out of core businesses, chase the IMS dream and get into the broadband business. And Vodafone fits the bill perfectly.

The company is going to launch a broadband service, Vodafone At Home, in the highly competitive UK market on January 7, 2007. Vodafone, world’s largest mobile operator will sell an 8 megabits per second connection for $49 a month to its post paid subscribers. This includes free calls to all UK numbers. The contract will be for 18-months. The deal is an extension of its partnership with British Telecom.

How successful this service will be remains to be seen. It is about $10 more expensive than Carphone Warehouse’s Talk Talk service. Orange and Sky offer “free broadband” if customers sign-up for other services like mobile and satellite television.

  1. I would have thought Vodafone would have had broadband offerings in the UK ages ago. The New zealand division of Vodafone has being offering mobile broadband for a while now and a few months ago they purchased one of New Zealand’s largest ISPs (ihug) which also has broadband along with other telecommunication offerings.

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  2. Oh, this is wired broadband. they do offer wireless broadband to their customers in most places.

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  3. Om… Vodafone’s been doing the Zu Hause service in Germany for a while now (http://www.vodafone.de/privat/internetundfestnetz/68911.html) and they’ve had it in Italy too, IIRC. Strictly speaking, Vodafone NZ has had fixed-line broadband in the form of Ihug’s first-generation ADSL (resold Telecom NZ DSL), but they’re still separate brands.

    It’s Arun Sarin’s grand vision that’ll apparently take Voda out of the dwindling mobile revenue doldrums. Looks like 3G services didn’t work then. :)

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  4. Andy Abramson Tuesday, January 2, 2007

    I had Vodafone wireless in my hotel in Frankfurt last week and you couldn’t use GizmoProject…they were blocking something like UDP, or port 5060…

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  5. To clarify:
    Vodafone UK have been offering fixed broadband access to enterprises for some time, the current “Vodafone Does Broadband” headlines refer only to a consumer launch (PS: VF-UK also launched a consumer dial-up ISP in 1999, but closed it down in 2001-ish).

    Re: Price
    Vodafone At Home will be offered free to contract subscribers paying over a certain amount per month.

    Om: Re: Your off-the-cuff comment:
    “overpay for a company in emerging growth market for instance”. What price is Vodafone paying? What price would you pay?

    Re: “chase the IMS dream”
    Who mentioned IMS?

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  6. Neither the press release nor your comment clarifies whether the calls to UK landline numbers (not all UK numbers as you suggest) are made using the BT landline or using a VoIP connection. If it is the latter, then probably the following may be excluded – calls to mobiles and to numbers that start with 0845 and 090 or 0870 which are resp. local rate, premium rate and national rate numbers in the UK as is the case with BT Broadband’s voice package on offer.

    I was one of the earliest customers of BT Broadband – when they had only 16 engineers supporting practically all of Southern England’s installations (yes, the engineer came home to open up your phone point on the wall; the switchover to ‘self service’ with a filter to be plugged into the wall socket came about 5 years later). As far as I know, not all BT exchanges currently support 8Mb, so I wonder how Vodafone can make that claim, but I understand that it may be served up with conditionalities in the actual fine print.

    FInally I think the comparison with Talk-Talk is a bit unfair as it proved to be, well, only talk, as many early subscribers were burnt badly by the provider’s inability to service the contracts.

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  7. [...] While this does seem like a distant dream, eventually it will happen. Nokia, for instance, is pretty confident that most of its mobile phones in the near future will have Wi-Fi capabilities built into them. BT can offer voice (and other services) over Wi-Fi when in range of a FON node, and when out of range it can switch to the Vodafone network for cellular access. [...]

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