Vodafone pushes back UK TV service

Vodafone has put its plans to launch a TV service in the UK on hold, according to a report in The Telegraph newspaper.

Vittorio ColaoThe paper cited Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao as saying that the service was ready to launch within weeks if the company felt it was necessary, but said that Vodafone now had other priorities.

Vodafone has repeatedly pushed back its plans to launch a TV service in its home market – it first talked about launching a service as long ago as 2014. During the last quarterly results presentation, the company said it was continuing field trials of its service.

Colao said that Vodafone remains Europe’s fastest growing fixed broadband provider. Vodafone added 1.5 million fixed customers globally last year. Fixed now represents 22% of group revenue.

He said that overall both the company’s TV base and fully converged base had increased, meaning the company had “strong momentum both in fixed and in TV”.

Vodafone’s German unit has unveiled a new advanced TV offering for its cable network that will also be available as a streaming app.

On a conference call with analysts following the group’s results, Colao said UK broadband adds had been “okay”, but broadband was a product it mostly wanted to push to its existing mobile companies.

Consumer broadband numbers in the UK are increasing but remain modest at 129,000, up 32,000 in the quarter.

Vodafone’s UK business was, along with India where it faces intense price competition, the main black spot in the company’s Q3 numbers.

UK revenues dropped by just over 3% as a result of price competition in the enterprise segment and loss of key contracts. The company’s consumer business has also been hit by billing migration issues.

Colao said that Vodafone had 3.5 million fully converged customers in Europe, which he believed would be mostly Vodafone mobile customers moving to take broadband services rather than the other way round.

Colao also said Vodafone’s JV in the Netherlands with Ziggo was “progressing well” and the first and second tier management teams were now in place. “We plan to launch new converged offers in March,” he said. “We see a strong opportunity as less than 20% of Ziggo’s customers use the Vodafone network today.”