Vodafone to offer new fixed-cellular service to compete directly with OTE

Vodafone is next week starting the promotion of a joint telephony service for both cellular and fixed telephony. This technology, which will effectively replace fixed telephony with cellular, will allow subscribers to use their telephone as a fixed line within their «home zone» and as cellular outside that zone. The new service will be able to support more than one handset and therefore cater for the whole family. The fixed/cellular service, which will try to gain part of OTE’s market share, has already been successfully applied in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Vodafone says that in Germany it attracted 2.13 million subscribers to the «Vodafone Zuhause» package in the first 13 months of its introduction (January 2006 – February 2007), increasing outgoing calls from its network by 54 percent. This meant that outgoing calls per household amounted to 696 minutes per month, against just 453 minutes before the new service was introduced. It also increased the average revenue per household by 9 euros per month to reach -101. Vodafone will most likely present its new service on July 2, after more than a year’s preparation. It expects to break down the boundaries between fixed and cellular telephony in Greece too, while providing a very competitive alternative to fixed telephony providers, and particularly OTE, which controls over 75 percent of fixed telephony use. At present, OTE handles about 16 billion minutes per year, against Vodafone’s 8 billion minutes approximately. The rates for the new service will ensure that charging within the home zone is at fixed-line rates, while calls outside it will be charged at cell phone rates. Vodafone will also cooperate with Hellas On Line for the provision of other services, which are expected to increase the number of subscribers considerably. The fixed telephony company will use Fixed Cellular Terminals, which enable fixed calls to cell phones to be switched into cell calls to cell phones. Vodafone intends to introduce a number of packages which will meet all the needs of an entire family, including prepaid phone calls, multiple handsets and even combined packages for fixed and cellular telephony.

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