We know that Vodafone plans to launch a broadband and phone service – Vodafone Connect – very soon. But when exactly?
So far, Vodafone has declined to be any more specific than ‘Spring 2015’ when quizzed about a launch date for its new service. Year-end earnings released yesterday says that Vodafone Connect will launch in the ‘coming weeks’.
That doesn’t narrow things down much and again, Vodafone spokespeople have refused to confirm or deny this latest development.
What we do know is that Vodafone has launched a pre-registration page for Vodafone Connect, which gives us some idea of what services will be on offer.
Vodafone also bought Cable & Wireless Worldwide back in 2012, giving it a 20,500km fibre optic network. As well as being used to supply backhaul for mobile services, it’s thought that this network will be used to deliver home broadband and phone services to customers, using BT’s Openreach network to make that ‘last mile’ connection to people’s homes.
Industry blog ISP Review quotes unnamed sources saying that Vodafone will install equipment in BT exchanges and sell ADSL and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) services alongside superfast 4G mobile plans.
This will effectively see Vodafone becoming a competitor to BT, using its own network of exchanges and cabinets in the same way that Sky, TalkTalk, EE and many other ISPs do.
It was thought that Vodafone may also launch a digital TV service, which would see it able to offer ‘quad-play’ bundles – broadband, mobile, TV and home phone – to customers, something BT is keen on doing.
So far, only Virgin Media, TalkTalk and EE truly offer quad-play deals – although BT customers can get an exclusive discount on BT Mobile tariffs.
The Vodafone Connect pre-registry page suggested that a TV service wasn’t in the pipeline, although Vodafone’s existing relationship with Sky might see viewers able to get money off of Now TV subscriptions.
News that Vodafone is almost ready to re-enter the broadband arena comes at a time when TalkTalk, Sky and CityFibre continue to make headway with their gigabit broadband project in York.
TalkTalk hopes that it will be able to eventually offer 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) services to around 10 million homes and smaller ISPs like Hyperoptic and Gigaclear, who are making steady gains with their own ultrafast offerings.
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