Comment One story that sneaked past us at the end of last week was the fact that Vodafone has managed to outbid other mobile operators for the Spanish ISP Ya.com. We feel the deal presages a quadruple play move by Vodafone within the year.
So Vodafone continues to build up fixed line stakes in all of the largest markets in Europe and now has its own German Arcor unit, access to two million plus broadband lines in France through SFR, owned jointly with Vivendi, and it owns 40 per cent of Neuf Cegetel IPTV operator - so it may soon be able to offer a quadruple play to rival that of Orange.
Vodafone also has broadband distribution deals with both Fastweb and British Telecom in Italy and the UK. There is a sense in the market that Vodafone will shortly launch a video fourth play across as many of these markets as it can muster. We know there have been RFPs out, but not who's won them.
Vodafone continues to chase broadband markets directly in other, poorer, parts of Europe, such as Romania, and in other European and Scandinavian countries where it still has a mobile presence, it could easily partner for broadband access.
Vodafone measures its success by the other global mobile players, and in Spain it has a rival in Telefonica for global dominance, and also in Orange in France, and in T-Mobile, which is owned by the currently retracting Deutsche Telekom which is selling Ya.com
Prominent among these is the use of the Orange brand to subsume the previous Wanadoo ISP brand around Europe, and the fact that in France this already includes an IPTV offering. Orange has already offered bundles with mobile and fixed line voice, and broadband, and offers a strong Unik bundle to include dual mode Wi-Fi mobile voice in the home and at work, and it is expected to broaden its IPTV offerings outside France at some point.
Vodafone now looks set to beat Orange to the punch, and at least launch an IPTV service in Germany that will eventually be offered in a quadruple play bundle with phone, mobile, and internet services. IPTV suppliers around the world are very careful not to reveal if they have won contracts with Vodafone, but it is an open secret that home delivered DSL based Pay TV is on the cards in Germany sometime this year.