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Vodafone uses TV to push fixed broadband in hyper competitive Netherlands

As long as Vodafone just dabbles with TV services, treating them like regional optoins, it will never be a force in Quad play

By PETER WHITE

Published: 18 August, 2011

READ MORE: Broadband

It turns out that Vodafone's next TV service is to be launched in the Netherlands. It already offers hybrid DTT/OTT services with cheap or free content in Spain and Germany, with Italy planned shortly. Executives have talked about ten more countries soon. The move is part of a triple play partnership with local broadband specialist Reggefiber, which has partnership deals with most content and communications specialist in the country. Basically it says, "Buy our broadband," what TV would you like with that?

But Vodafone will also buy access from KPN Wholesale as well, so reach areas where ReggeFiber doesn't go but it is using content from Glashart Media, a Reggefiber unit. So unlike its German and Spanish unit, there is very little effort here, more a way of extending the Vodafone brand to fixed line services, charging from €50 to cost €75 for speeds between 30 Mbps and 100 Mbps, with TV for free and VoIP.

The Netherlands TV market is tough and we can't imagine what Vodafone thinks it is doing. It is up against cable players Ziggo and UPC at the top end, plus satellite provider Canal Digitaal, as well as incumbent telco KPN which offers both IPTV and a low end paid DVB-T services called Digitenne, which has almost 1 million users. KPN is already offering a direct to tablet version of the Digitenne service too.

It is time Vodafone stopped playing around with its desire to get into Quad play, and unified its structure, at least in Europe, and put some central guidance together for its subsidiaries. As long as it continues to let the local regions "dabble" in any way they see fit, with ISPs and TV, it will remain a single play cellco, with no Quad opportunity in sight. In the long run, as pay TV operators take to the airwaves and offer cellular, whether that is as an MVNO or with their own spectrum, Vodafone will find itself legging behind.

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