Vodafone Australia promises fixed-line broadband over NBN

Let battle be joined with Telstra and Optus. And let's see how weak-in-mobile TPG responds

As widely anticipated, Vodafone's Australian tentacle has announced it's getting into the fixed-line broadband business.

The carrier will offer services to those lucky enough to enjoy connection to Australia's national broadband network.

The company's canned statement says the services will mean customers are "always connected" thanks to an undisclosed arrangement that will integrate mobile and fixed line plans for homes and businesses alike.

The service will commence "before the end of 2017" and we will have to wait until "closer to launch" before the carrier explains how this will work.

For now, Australians have three matters to consider.

Firstly, given the ongoing debate about the wafer-thin margins NBN services afford ISPs, it looks like Vodafone has found a neat way to enter the market with cross-subsidised services, which will help it defend against the nation's big two carriers, Telstra and Optus, who offer bundles galore across fixed and mobile. Optus and Telstra have also made big bets in entertainment. Will Vodafone follow? Or find another way to compete?

Secondly, Australia now has three and a bit integrated carriers. Vodafone is portraying itself as a pioneer. The reality is it is now in the game against its larger rivals.

Lastly, the above-mentioned "bit" is Australia's second-ranked-by-customer-count ISP, TPG which has only a weak mobile offering. It probably needs to do something about that, as with three majors likely to be pushing integration and data-cap-sharing consumer expectations will soon shift. ®

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