How much will Vodafone charge for NBN broadband?
And when will the service finally arrive?
Last October, Vodafone announced that it would be launching NBN broadband plans in 2017. Just how soon will that happen, and what will Vodafone charge for them?
Vodafone Australia CEO Iñaki Berroeta wasn't giving much away at a press conference to discuss its annual results in Sydney yesterday. He wouldn't even specify if it would be launched in the first or second half of the year.
"We are launching this year but I will not disclose when. It will be during the year," he said. "We announced that last year and we are getting closer to where we can talk about that," he said. "The NBN brings a fantastic platform for us to complement our mobile services with broadband services.
I suspect Vodafone will want to act sooner rather than later. When the company initially announced its plans, it was assumed that 4 million homes would be NBN-ready by the end of 2017. In reality, we've already passed that point.
Berroeta was similarly mum about what Vodafone might charge, offering up just this comment:
We are really looking at fixed with the same philosophy we are looking at mobile. You could expect a similar approach in the way we offer broadband products to our customers.
So what is Vodafone's philosophy? In really basic terms, it tends to offer more data on its plans than the other major operators, Telstra and Optus. That's largely a matter of commercial necessity: as the number three network, it needs to try harder. But that might be a trickier strategy to enact in broadband, because (unlike in the mobile space) many providers offer unlimited plans anyway.
More recently, Vodafone introduced its MyMix plans, which let you customise inclusions. That's an approach it could emulate with broadband, offering varied combinations of faster speeds, landline-like voice services and download limits.
One tactic Vodafone hasn't used in the past is bundling (with discounts for customers who buy other services), but I'd expect that to be part of the final product. After all, it already has a customer base of 5.56 million Australians. Telstra and Optus both heavily promote bundles as well.
We'll be keeping a close eye on how this evolves. The market for Internet plans is highly competitive, and hopefully the arrival of a new player will result in better deals for customers.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.
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