Unitymedia ups the ante in German broadband

The next six months will be critical in the German broadband market, according to cable operator Unitymedia, which has a firm strategy in place to enable it to steal yet more market share from Deutsche Telekom.

A Total Telecom report further quoted Unitymedia CEO Parm Sandhu saying that there was a hike in broadband customer additions in Germany in 2006, and many of those customers are tied into two-year contracts that will expire in the next months.

To capitalise on this, Unitymedia has just started offering its triple-play package - comprising voice Internet access, and cable TV - for free for the first six months, meaning that customers whose existing contracts with other providers are coming to an end can sign up before their current contract expires.

'They could double up for six months,' said Sandhu.

'It will be interesting to see how much [of the market] we can attract,' said Sandhu, although he stopped short of making any predictions, noting that the company has only just started marketing the offer.

However, Sandhu said that one DSL reseller in Germany has admitted that it expects to see its customer base decline as a result of the number of contracts that will expire in the next few months.

'The broadband Internet market is [still] growing, and it's growing very nicely,' but that growth is slowing, and therefore churners are a key target, said Sandhu. 'It's a primary focus for us.'

The company, which reported a basic cable subscriber base of 4.7 million at the end of the second quarter, down slightly on the previous year, ended Q2 with 282,000 broadband Internet customers, up from 125,000 a year earlier.

It claims to be capturing one third of new broadband Internet customer additions in its operating area, which covers the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse.