Australian mobile network operator Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) is reportedly considering an entry to the fixed line market, The Australian reports. The cellco is currently in discussions with NBN Co, the public-private company created to oversee the construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN), over possible trials of fixed line broadband services. Commenting on the development VHA chairman Nigel Dews noted: ‘These trials are about us learning how to deal with the NBN and what type of offers will work well … It’s important to start these things early. Obviously it will be a while before it’s all up and running but this is a good time to see how it will work and start learning about the things we might do in the future.’ It is suggested that should the trials run smoothly VHA could inaugurate commercial services over the NBN infrastructure by early 2012.
The cellco’s move to diversify its product offerings comes hot on the heels of it revealing that growth in its mobile subscriber base in the last six months of 2010 had slowed significantly, particularly when compared to market leader Telstra. As previously reported by CommsUpdate earlier this week, VHA signed up a total of 142,000 new subscribers in the six months ended 31 December 2010, less than half of the 539,000 customers it added in the first half of the year. Telstra Mobile meanwhile added more than 900,000 new mobile customers in the latter half of 2010, although VHA pointed to its rival’s increased marketing spend which drove its subscriber acquisitions.