NBN prompts Vodafone to mull entry into fixed-line market

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NBN prompts Vodafone to mull entry into fixed-line market

Doesn't rule out acquisitions.

Vodafone will spend the next year looking in earnest at its options in the fixed-line market as the national broadband network rollout ramps up, the telco revealed today.

Vodafone is currently a mobile-only network provider. But its Australian chief Inaki Berroeta today revealed that as NBN Co works towards its target of 5.4 million connected premises in a years' time, the telco would consider how it could play a role as an NBN service provider.

Berroeta said thus far the NBN - which currently has around 1.1 million active users on the network and 3 million more able to connect - had not reached a scale where it would be viable for Vodafone to enter the playing field.

But he said things would be different as the network rollout ramps up in force over the next 12 months. NBN Co is planning to double its active and connected premises by the end of its current financial year.

"Ten percent of households is probably not yet the volume of premises we think is viable, but five million definitely is," Berroeta said today.

Vodafone trialled offering services on the NBN in 2011 but did not progress with a retail product. Joining the market now would see it compete with Telstra, Optus, TPG, and Vocus, which combined cover 90 percent of NBN services.

However, Berroeta said Vodafone would not enter the fray "just to be another" NBN service provider.

He said the telco was "investing a lot of time and effort in understanding whether this is something that we want to go in on".

He did not rule out moving into the fixed-line market through acquisition.

"Everything is open," Berroeta said.

Vodafone also today revealed it would start technical tests of 5G technology on its mobile network later this year.

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