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Voda to launch fixed broadband in January

Mobile operator Vodafone has finally revealed details of the fixed line broadband service it will launch in the UK on January 8.

Vodafone at Home will be available to mobile contract customers for £25 per month, including line rental, on an 18 month subscription. Broadband speeds will be up to 8Mbps with unlimited downloads and unlimited calls to UK landlines, although a fair usage policy applies. Subscribers will also receive 25 per cent off calls to mobiles.

In order to compete against rival offerings from the likes of Orange and Carphone Warehouse, which launched earlier this year, Vodafone is offering free connection and a free Netgear Ethernet modem as well as bundled antivirus software Norton Internet Security 2006 for six months.

The broadband modem can be upgraded to a wireless Netgear router for £25 and subscribers will also have the option of picking up a Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Modem for half price – £58 – allowing them to access the operator’s 3G network when on the move for an additional £29 per month.

Tim Yates, director of Vodafone UK’s Consumer Business Unit said “by working with BT we will be providing nationwide broadband coverage from day one, as well as offering the flexibility and convenience of going wireless at home and being able to access the internet on laptops when out of the home on Vodafone’s 3G broadband network.”

Vodafone announced plans to unbundled lines from BT back in September, putting Cable & Wireless’ nose out of joint in the process.

Vodafone said the £25 per month fee is only available to Vodafone mobile subscribers. If a customer cancels their mobile contract Vodafone At Home will be charged at £35 per month.

With Vodafone’s cheapest mobile contract at £20, the minimum total monthly bill for mobile, landline calls and broadband is going to be £45, which amounts to about 75 minutes of mobile calls, 100 texts, landline rental, unlimited landline calls, 8Mb broadband and 25 per cent discount on landline to mobile calls.

Jonathan Coham, analyst with Ovum believes that Vodafone’s tariff fares relatively well and compares to BT’s Fusion package, although large discounts make BT cheaper in the first 12-18 months. Orange’s package is also similar but unbundled exchange customers will soon be able to get a better deal on Orange, Coham said.

However, Coham notes that Vodafone has no experience in either marketing or providing customer service in the broadband space, which can be a major hurdle and if not dealt with properly. “If Vodafone is smart, it will attempt to spread its marketing over a time period, to stagger take-up,” he said.

“It is a worthy package, which can only be a good thing for UK’s broadband market. However, like all other operators, the mobile aspect should be one part of the larger picture. Vodafone should consider utilising its brand and expertise to offer further innovation in its offering, “Coham added.

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