TalkTalk prepares assault on rival Virgin Media and quad-play market, as it announces mobile product and clears regulatory approval for television services
UK broadband provider TalkTalk Group is to launch a SIM-only MVNO proposition, running off the Vodafone network, in the Autumn.
Its mobile proposition will be sold to customers alongside its fixed line telephone and broadband offers only, and not as a standalone product, and be offered also with its internet television product in mid-2011.
The addition of mobile, and the planned launch of a connected internet television platform next year, will see TalkTalk take on Virgin Media in the quad-play arena head-on.
The TalkTalk MVNO will make available competitive monthly SIM-only contracts to existing customers of its fixed line services, and be marketed to them via mail-shots and, down the line, as part of the firm’s broader press and online activity.
It will be sold alongside other TalkTalk services at Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy stores in the UK.
Vodafone UK chief executive Guy Laurence said: “Our MVNO partners are an important part of our business. By adding TalkTalk Group, more customers will get to experience our fast and reliable network for all their mobile phone and broadband services.”
TalkTalk Group chairman Charles Dunstone said: “Over the last five years, TalkTalk Group has invested over £1 billion to transform the UK broadband and voice market into one of the most vibrant and good value in the world.
“Our customers tell us that they expect the same value from their mobile services that they’ve come to expect from their home phone and broadband, so that’s what we intend to provide. We’ve chosen Vodafone as our network partner as they have a proven network and a track record of success with their MVNOs.”
TalkTalk was demerged from Carphone Warehouse at the end of March, with the latter setting up as a standalone retail business in Europe with US brand Best Buy.
TalkTalk added 34,000 net new broadband customers in the quarter, taking the total base to 4.231 million customers – including its AOL base, as well as its Tiscali business, now rebranded as TalkTalk. Dial-up and voice-only customers numbered 910,000.
Its total revenue increased 31 per cent year-on-year to £444 million.
By comparison, Virgin Media reported just more than 4.2 million broadband customers in the period, with 28,1000 net new additions. Its revenue in the quarter was £964 million, up 7.1 per cent, and it added 9,100 new cable television customers to bring its cable customer base to 4.765 million.
BT has a broadband base of around five million, incorporating the significant numbers of business customers. A consumer break-down is not available from BT.
Dunstone said: “I regard this as a very solid performance; we maintained our momentum in the broadband market, as our brand and tariffs continued to appeal to customers seeking straight-forward, value-for-money broadband and voice services.
“This was achieved against a backdrop of intensive work on integrating the Tiscali base.
“The programme is well on track to deliver all the synergies identified, and strengthens our platform for further revenue and profit growth.
“The progress made is best demonstrated by ending the quarter with 77 per cent of our broadband base unbundled onto our Next Generation Network.”
TalkTalk’s Project Canvas joint venture project with the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BT and infrastructure firm Arqiva has cleared regulatory approval to launch internet-connected digital television services, covering all terrestrial television channels, plus catch-up and video-on-demand services, and is expected to launch next summer.