Vodafone hopes Netflix subscription, discounts and ‘smart’ Connect router will help it gain traction in competitive UK market
Vodafone is making its fixed broadband service available to the entire of the UK – two months after it began rolling out to existing mobile customers.
The company is entering a competitive market but is hoping discounts for those who also take up a mobile contract, a year’s inclusive Netflix subscription and the ‘innovative’ smart router will help encourage adoption.
Vodafone Connect makes use of the company’s business cable network, which it acquired from Cable & Wireless in 2012, and the open-access BT Openreach network, giving it a fibre footprint of 22 million homes and businesses.
Residents in Manchester, Berkshire and parts of Hampshire and Surrey have had access to since June, with users in Essex, Hertfordshire and Yorkshire added over the past few weeks. All existing Vodafone customers will get £5 off all packages and will only pay half price for the first 12 months, excluding their line rental.
“We are delighted that we are now able to bring our innovative new home broadband service to people across the UK,” said Cindy Rose, Vodafone UK consumer director. “With the introduction of Vodafone home broadband combined with our ultrafast 4G, Vodafone is now well positioned to satisfy all of our customers’ connectivity needs, both at home and on the go.”
The Newbury-based firm first announced plans to enter the market late last year as it seeks to keep up with rivals in a converging communications market which can offer ‘quad play’ packages of landline, broadband, mobile and television services.
The ‘connect’ router is seen as a key differentiator, offering users greater control over their home network.
The app, available for iOS and Android, shows which devices are connected to the network, can set up a guest network for visitors, set time limits for certain family members and give priority to a particular device for up two hours. The router also uses beamforming technology to deliver a stronger signal to compatible machines.
Vodafone has invested heavily in fixed infrastructure across Europe, building fibre networks in Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Ireland and acquiring Spanish cable provider Ono and Kabel Deutschland in Germany. In total it has 12.3 million fixed users across the continent.
It hopes the investments will allow it to compete with rival quad-play players across Europe, increase revenue, foster customer loyalty and limit the damage from any fall in mobile revenue. The firm is also investing in into its 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure.
However any potential ‘asset exchange’ with US cable giant Liberty Global appears to be off the carsd for now after talks between the two were put on hold. It had been speculated Vodafone had its sights on UK cable operator Virgin Media was in Vodafone’s sights.