Vodafone takes on Sky and BT with pay-TV launch

Vodafone is preparing to launch a pay-TV service later this year, as it looks to compete against the likes of EE and TalkTalk.

The service will reportedly launch in November and will face stiff competition from set-top box offerings and subscription streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Read more: Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three pledge more rural investment

In order to launch the TV service, Vodafone will also have to re-enter the UK broadband market, after selling that side of its business to BT back in 2007. The launches will cause the company some serious financial and infrastructural strain, which should be mitigated by the opening of two new UK premises.

According to the Telegraph, Vodafone plans to open a new call centre in Glasgow to deal with broadband and television issues and a new TV operations headquarters in Hammersmith. The latter will be responsible for both the commercial and technical aspects of the firm’s TV service. It is hoped that by locating the new office in West London’s television hub, Vodafone will be able to attract some of the best talent in the media industry.

Vodafone’s pay-TV service will operate using software developed by US company Kaltura. The set-top box will store programmes online and enable users to view them across multiple devices, with each household member able to create their own profile.

Like many other telecoms firms, Vodafone believes that “quad play” is the future of the industry, encompassing broadband, fixed home telephone, mobile and TV. However, Vodafone may struggle to gain consumer traction in the face of competition from more established industry names.

Read more: How Netflix changed the pay TV landscape

Sky is currently the most popular pay-TV provider, with the number of UK subscribers estimated to be in excess of 10 million. BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have also all built up a UK user base, meaning Vodafone may need an impressive USP to convince consumers to switch.