Wednesday 18 October 2017

Vodafone plans TV service in Ireland as 'quad play' beckons

Vodafone remains cash-rich after a €100bn sale of Verizon shares last year
Vodafone remains cash-rich after a €100bn sale of Verizon shares last year
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Vodafone is planning a new TV service that aims to go head-to-head with UPC, Sky and Eircom in Ireland. The mobile provider has held discussions with several industry players, including Sky, about launching the service later this year. Trials are set to begin before the summer.

The new TV service is likely to include a set-top box that offers access to a package of channels. It comes as Vodafone is preparing commercial plans for the launch of a home fibre broadband service in conjunction with the ESB later this year.

Vodafone remains cash-rich after a €100bn sale of Verizon shares last year. "We are currently assessing our options in relation to TV services but cannot currently share any details at this point," said a spokesman.

The company's move into the television market comes as rivals seek to offer 'quad play' services incorporating broadband, TV, mobile and home phone. Cable operator UPC will soon launch a mobile phone service here, while Eircom has 30,000 television customers.

"The more aggressive the non-mobile people are in mobile, the more aggressive we will be on TV and on broadband," said Vittorio Colao, the company's global chief executive, adding that the operator planned a TV service in Britain this year.

Vodafone is believed to be interested in bidding for UPC's parent Liberty Global.

"Cable assets make sense," Colao said after Vodafone's most recent earnings statement. "However, each country must be considered on its own merit."

Vodafone recently acquired two cable operators, Germany's Kabel Deutschland and Spain's Ono, in a bid to diversify away from being a mobile-centric player. A recent report by the debt agency Moody's said that Vodafone would suffer against rivals if it did not diversify more into fixed-line network operations.

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