Mobile Giants Size Up DSL
Enck believes broadband specialists such as U.K. service providers Pipex Communications plc and Tiscali UK , Italy's Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) and Tiscali SpA (Milan: TIS), and Spain's Jazztel plc could interest Vodafone.
Vodafone says it is currently reviewing its strategy in terms of services and technology, and will outline its new strategy in detail "some time before the end of May," says a spokesman. Any presentations made to Vodafone on fixed-broadband issues "would be part of that strategy review process," he adds.
Alcatel declined to comment.
O2, meanwhile, has also been looking into fixed broadband. Its U.K. operation has been exploring the LLU option, with Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY)'s European DSL infrastructure business confirming it has pitched its wares and business case to the operator.
O2 differs from Vodafone, though, in that it is now part of Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), which already has fixed and mobile assets in multiple territories. (See Telefónica Swoops In on O2 and Telefonica Buys Cesky Telecom.)
The carrier says it is integrating its fixed and mobile assets in the Czech Republic -- Cesky Telecom a.s. and Eurotel Praha spol. s.r.o. -- and is doing the same in Germany, where it is combining Telefónica O2 Germany GmbH & Co. OHG with fixed-line player Telefónica Deutschland GmbH . It also offers fixed and mobile services on the Isle of Man via its Manx Telecom Ltd. business.
In an email response to questions about any LLU plans in the U.K., O2 said: "Clearly as a group we are already focusing on fixed (including broadband) and mobile solutions. For the U.K. specifically you would therefore expect us to be looking at the possible opportunities presented by broadband, although we have no firm plans at this stage."
A precedent for European mobile operators branching into DSL by unbundling the local loop has already been set by Belgian carrier Mobistar SA , which has sourced DSLAMs from Alcatel and B-RAS equipment from Redback Networks Inc. . (See Eurobites: Access All Areas, Mobistar Picks Alcatel for DSL, and Mobistar Deploys Redback.)
In its 2005 report, the operator noted: "Mobistar has taken the firm view that convergence is an essential factor in the development of telecommunications and, by developing three ADSL offers from October onwards, has entered a decisive stage in its progress towards the status of an integrated operator active in the mobile and fixed-line telecommunications business."
By the end of 2005 it had signed up nearly 3,000 customers for its DSL service.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading
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