Vodafone has been a relatively late entrant to the fixed line broadband market in the UK and currently provides its ADSL products by reselling a BT Wholesale managed service. The Register has seen claims from the Italian newspaper MF that on 4th June, Tiscali will announce Vodafone as the winning bidder in the race to buy the Tiscali group.
If the price is right then Vodafone's bid is said to be worth €2.8 per share, giving an overall value of €1.6bn to the group. Previous reports suggested bids by the Carphone Warehouse group were rejected, and it is not known how far the interest Sky has had in the communications provider have gone.
Tiscali has some 1.9 million UK customers, including those from Pipex, Pipex HomeCall, HomeChoice, Nildram, Bulldog and Freedom2Surf. Pipex has only recently undergone a makeover to focus on business services, with consumers being directed to the mainstream Tiscali products.
If Vodafone is the winning bidder it acquires an extensive network with both fully unbundled networks and shared unbundling, a TV over broadband service and the most extensive Datastream network in the UK. It remains to be seen how loyal the customers of providers who have seen themselves purchased by Pipex, then Tiscali and now another party will remain.