Vodafone has become the latest telecoms provider to join the “quad play” market as it said it would offer its customers a “lightening fast” broadband service and a range of options to control how internet connectivity is allocated throughout the household.
Hundreds of jobs are set to be created north of the Border as a result of the launch of Vodafone Connect, as the firm said it would add 400 staff at its offices in south-east England and Glasgow, where it would offer services including a dedicated broadband “switching” option.
This is a really exciting move for Vodafone in the UKJeroen Hoencamp
The move comes just months after BT announced it was to enter the mobile phone market, becoming the latest “quad play” telecoms provider to offer broadband internet access, television and telephone services in combination with a wireless network.
Vodafone now offers mobile, home phone and broadband services and plans to roll out a TV service.
The new service, which is currently on offer to existing Vodafone mobile customers, allows families to “supercharge” devices running browsing, streaming and gaming services.
It also enables consumers to select which gadgets should be given priority over other gadgets sharing the same network in terms of broadband strength, while householders can also control when guests or children can access wi-fi and how long they can stay on.
Vodafone, which already offers broadband services in some of its European markets, said it would trial the service in Manchester and some Home Counties areas, but planned to roll it out across the UK later in the year.
Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Vodafone’s waded into the broadband arena with an offering that allows families to supercharge devices, giving them priority over other gadgets sharing the same network.
“It’s a clever proposition – even if it’s likely to result in some heated family squabbles over whose tablet time is the most important.”
But he warned that the added “extras” on offer from Vodafone – such as “Boost”, which allows customers to give broadband priority to a specific device, and “Beam”, which sends a stronger wi-fi signal to compatible devices wherever they are in the home, even rooms which are furthest away from the hub – would be unlikely to be a deal breaker for consumers already signed up with another provider.
Mr Taylor-Gibson said: “But the multiplay market is already heavily competitive, and gimmicks like ‘Boost’ and ‘Beam’, while innovative and fun, are unlikely to lure customers away from other providers. But although its pricing is competitive, it’s not the cheapest and for now, at least, its service is not widely available.”
Vodafone is offering three bundles, starting from £5 per month and with speeds ranging from 17 Mbps to 76 Mbps.
Jeroen Hoencamp, head of Vodafone UK, said the “significant investment” would result in hundreds of new jobs – including in Glasgow.
“This is a really exciting move for Vodafone in the UK as we move our business into a new phase,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to bringing our consumer customers the benefits of our experience in providing fixed and mobile services, both here in the UK and elsewhere around the world.
“Our significant investment is creating hundreds of new jobs over the next couple of years.”