Vodafone has announced that it will start selling broadband services in a move that had been expected in response to the growing challenge from BT in the mobile market.
Vodafone will use the BT Openreach network and its own fibre assets to sell services under the Vodafone Connect brand, and said that the fastest service offers speed of 76Mbps, alongside 38Mbps and 17Mbps offerings.
Vodafone Connect will be offered first to existing customers in Manchester, Berkshire and parts of Hampshire and Surrey, followed by Essex, Hertfordshire and Yorkshire in the next few weeks.
Vodafone said that it expects to open up the offering to all potential customers “later in the year” and those interested can register on the Vodafone Connect website.
All services come with an 18-month contract and connection charge for fibre services of £30, a £6.99 router delivery fee and a monthly line rental of £16.99.
The price breakdown for Vodafone customers is:
- 17Mbps is £2.50 a month for 12 months then £5 for six months
- 38Mbps is £7.50 a month for 12 months then £15 for six months
- 76Mbps is £10 a month for 12 months then £20 for six months
The price breakdown for non-Vodafone customers is:
- 17Mbps is £10 a month
- 38Mbps is £20 a month
- 76Mbps is £25 a month
Vodafone has also launched a Vodafone Connect companion app for iOS and Android designed to make it easier for people to control their WiFi by using Boost to create device priority for the connection, and Family Time to limit the time certain devices can access the WiFi.
Guest WiFi, meanwhile, makes it easier to allow a new device to access the network without the need for a password.
Paolo Pescatore, director of multiplay and video at analyst firm CCS Insight, said it is no surprise that Vodafone has entered the broadband market and that focusing on ease of use with the companion app is a good differentiator.
“It’s a cut-throat industry so it was important for Vodafone to bring something different to the market - and it has done that. The service is novel and heavily focused on the customer experience,” he added.
Matthew Howett, practice leader for regulation and policy at Ovum, agreed, telling V3 that Vodafone's move was "entirely predictable" and will be welcomed by the competition authorities.
"It’s going to be music to the competition authorities' ears. In many ways Vodafone is shaping up to be the challenger operator and has nothing to lose," he said.
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