Vodafone in mega assault on Eircom’s fixed-line fortress

27 May 2008

Mobile operator Vodafone has signalled its intent to be a ‘total telecoms’ operator and has revealed a new bundled mobile and fixed-line broadband package for €49 per month that it intends to use to bring the battle to incumbent operator Eircom.

Vodafone Ireland’s parent Vodafone Group plc this morning reported a £10.1bn sterling operating profit on global revenues of £35.5bn sterling for the year ended 31 March. In addition, group CEO Arun Sarin announced his intention to resign in July.

Earlier this year, Vodafone paid €80m to acquire broadband operator Perlico. The acquisition added a further 62,500 customers to Vodafone’s total base of 2.3 million users.

During the most recent quarter, Vodafone said that total voice minutes used reached 1.5 billion, up 9.3pc on the previous year, while text usage increased 22.1pc to 936 million texts. Despite this, Vodafone saw blended monthly ARPU decrease by 1.3pc from €44.60 to €44.

This corresponds with a similar pattern at rival O2 Ireland, which saw blended ARPU fall from €45.2 in the fourth quarter to €44.2 in the first quarter of 2008. Both companies attribute the fall in ARPU to increasing competition in the Irish market.

Vodafone said this morning that total mobile broadband users reached 75,000 by the end of March, up from 20,000 the previous year. New connections during the quarter alone stood at 23,000.

Vodafone Ireland chief executive Charles Butterworth outlined the company’s plan to assault Eircom’s fixed-line telecoms and broadband market share.

“The launch of Vodafone At Home is a ground-breaking step for the company,” said Butterworth. “In line with our ongoing commitment to leading developments in the market, the launch of Vodafone At Home establishes Vodafone as the leading alternative total communications company in the country.”

The Vodafone At Home package will cost €49 per month including connection, line rental, 2Mbps of broadband with a 30GB limit, free anytime fixed to local and national fixed-line calls and free anytime fixed to three nominated Vodafone numbers.

A 3Mbps broadband package with the same bundle will cost €59 per month.

“This carefully developed consumer product provides a complete range of mobile, fixed line voice and broadband communications service to customers, both new and existing,” Butterworth explained.

“We are confident that with our extensive experience of delivering products and services that provide quality, reliability and affordability for Irish consumers, our entry into this market will be welcomed as a significant step in the drive to increase national broadband take-up,” Butterworth added.

By John Kennedy