Vodafone to enter fixed-line broadband market

Mobile phone operator Vodafone confirmed on Monday its plan to enter the cut-throat fixed-line broadband Internet market via a deal with the wholesale arm of telecoms firm BT.

Vodafone, which said in May it planned to enter adjacent telecoms markets such as broadband Internet, said it expected to launch the new Vodafone-branded service by the end of this year.

"This partnership enables Vodafone's customers to benefit from bundled packages of mobile and broadband services nationwide, due to BT's unique footprint in the UK," Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile phone operator by sales, said in a statement.

Until recently, Britain-based Vodafone had prided itself on being a "pure play" mobile operation, unencumbered by a declining fixed-line business.

But as fixed and mobile businesses move to cheaper, combined services, the firm has had to change tack.

In May, Vodafone said it was aiming to get up to 10 percent of its annual revenues over the next three to four years from its new "Mobile Zone" businesses, including converged fixed-mobile Internet services.

Competition in Britain's broadband market is intense, with Carphone Warehouse and BSkyB recently announcing cut-price packages.

Britain's second-biggest telecoms group, Cable & Wireless, recently exited the UK retail broadband market, in part because of the stiff competition.


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