Vodafone UK tipped to soft launch TV service next month


Vodafone UK is reportedly preparing to "soft launch" its long-awaited IPTV service in October, although the debut is not yet a sure thing.

The mobile operator started offering fixed broadband services last year, using Cable & Wireless' fibre network and BT's last-mile infrastructure. However, its multiplay ambitions, which were supposed to be realised at the time, have still not become clear.

According to a Monday report in the Telegraph, Vodafone's broadband-based TV offering will appear in October using video platform technology from specialist company Kaltura, but no exclusive programming deals.

The report claimed that Vodafone would start off by offering pay TV services to its own staff, followed by existing customers. This would be in order to ensure technical difficulties are solved before a full-scale launch next year.

Vodafone declined to comment on the report on Monday morning.

Technical difficulties are said to have held back the launch so far. If the full-scale launch is only going to take place in 2017, then there is still time to sort out deals that customers will want to see in place, such as for BT's sports channels.

Kaltura already provides the basis for Vodafone's Spanish TV service. ISPreview explained that Vodafone’s service in Spain operates over a fibre-to-the-home network offering speeds of up to 300Mbps, but in the UK it will have to function over up to 40Mbps fibre-to-the-cabinet infrastructure.

The UK multiplay market is heating up. BT and EE are now one company, and Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk all have quad-play offerings -- the holy-grail combination of broadband, mobile, landline and TV.

Strategy Analytics said last month that quad-play revenues were likely to triple between 2015 and 2020 and account for over a fifth of the UK's bundled subscriptions at the end of the decade. The analyst house said at the time that Vodafone "may need to revisit the opportunities for partnerships" to improve its position in this market.

For more:
- see this Telegraph report
- view this ISPreview article

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UK subscribers latching onto quad-play
Vodafone extends home broadband service to rest of UK
Vodafone flexes its fixed and multi-play muscles