Vodafone finally makes its NBN play

Vodafone has confirmed it is preparing to enter the National Broadband Network market, with the company’s CEO — I?aki Berroeta — saying that the telco intends to offer its first fixed-line broadband services before the end of next year.

Berroeta made the announcement today at TelSoc’s 2016 Charles Todd Oration.

“There has been a lot of speculation about if, when and how Vodafone will enter the Australian fixed market, and the speculation can end today,” the CEO said in remarks prepared for the annual lecture.

“It’s no secret that Australian consumers love data. The NBN will allow us to complement our mobile network by seamlessly connecting our customers at home, work and in between.”

“Consumers are converged but the telco market isn’t, and we want to change this. Customers want seamless connection, easy-to-understand plans and reliable service – and that’s the proposition we’ll be bringing to Australia before the end of 2017,” the CEO added.

Berroeta said he would “not go into the details today as to exactly when and how” Vodafone would launch its NBN offering, but he said the telco is “the cornerstone of competition in mobile” and that it intends that to be the case in the fixed-line broadband segment as well.

“We bring a fresh approach to this market, without a legacy interest in protecting high historic fixed margins,” the CEO said. “We bring with us a strong tradition of simplifying services, giving customers only what they really want and need, and doing so in a way which changes the industry.”

The company has long indicated an interest in potentially offering NBN services.

“I think that in this market, with the opportunities that NBN brings into the market, this is an area that we definitely need to look [at],” Berroeta said in February.

“But I always say the same thing,” he added. “We will get into offering fixed services when we are able to really bring something that is different to the market and something that is good value to our customers.”

Vodafone in 2011 conducted NBN trials in Armidale, NSW. The company has also pushed for the use of NBN infrastructure to boost regional mobile competition.

“We expect that through a fixed broadband service, Vodafone will become an even stronger competitive force in the Australian telecommunications market,” Berroeta said today.

Figures released earlier this year by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed that Telstra dominates the NBN market.

At the end of June Telstra had a 48 per cent share of the total number of active NBN services. Its nearest rival — TPG — had a 26 per cent share. Optus captured 14 per cent of NBN services. Excluding satellite NBN services, which are not currently offered by Telstra, Telstra’s market share climbs to almost 50 per cent.

(The report didn’t offer a complete picture of the NBN market; it grouped services by network access seeker and so the figures incorporate services sold by ISPs that resell services provided via another telco.)

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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