| LONDON, April 4
LONDON, April 4 Vodafone is in talks
with Deutsche Telekom to agree a wholesale deal that
would enable the British group to offer its German customers
superfast broadband and a TV service, a person familiar with the
Vodafone, traditionally a mobile-only company which has to
rent fixed lines in wholesale deals to offer broadband in some
markets, has come under pressure from investors and analysts to
show how it can compete with cable TV groups and telecom firms
who can lure customers with a combined offer for mobile, fixed
calls, broadband and TV.
The combined offer, particularly from cable operators, has
proved increasingly attractive as consumers watch more
programming on TV, laptops and smartphones.
Some investors had feared the trend would force Vodafone to
go on a Europe-wide spending spree to buy fixed-line assets, and
sources told Reuters in February that it was weighing a
10-billion-euro bid for cable operator Kabel Deutschland
But the fixed-line wholesale talks in Germany and a plan
announced in March to build a fibre broadband network with
France Telecom in Spain shows that Vodafone has options other
Vodafone declined to comment and Deutsche Telekom was not
immediately available to comment.
Some analysts have said that the approach to Kabel
Deutschland could have been designed to negotiate better
wholesale terms from Deutsche Telekom.
The person familiar with the situation, talking on condition
of anonymity, said Vodafone Germany and Deutsche had opened
talks in December about agreeing a new wholesale deal for
so-called VDSL bitstream technology. Vodafone has 34 million
customers in Germany.
VDSL helps to increase speeds from a traditional copper
network and the talks are about access to this and developments
currently being worked on by Deutsche, called VDSL on a layer 2
basis and vectoring, which will provide even faster speeds of up
to 100 Mbits per second and ensure the smooth delivery of TV
over the internet.
The 100 Mbits per second compares to current levels of
around 16 Mbits.
The source said discussions had been slow but were due to
resume soon and that Vodafone did not rule out having to resort
to the local regulator to seek help if they could not agree a
price that works for both sides.
Vodafone already owns some fixed-line assets in Europe but
it only has quad-play services with TV, broadband and fixed and
mobile calls in Portugal.