Are fixed-line broadband days numbered?
Fixed-line broadband could be numbered, at least in Germany, where Vodafone is considering moving its fixed line DSL broadband customers on to (Long Term Evolution) LTE after the company said that it is costing a fortune in line rental to Deutsche Telekom through local loop unbundling (LLU). The move would be seen as quite a radical change as other areas of the market seem to be moving toward using more fixed-line services to help supplement mobile ones.
LTE offers a high bandwidth next-generation (4G) broadband solution which is usually thought of as a 'mobile broadband' product, but can work equally well as a replacement for a fixed-line solution. Speeds are offered at up to 50Mbps, which competes well with equivalent fixed-line services that are available in the UK.
By migrating all its customers over to LTE, Vodafone could save around €500 million a year which it currently spends on LLU with Deutsche Telekom, whose prices are higher than the equivalent here in the UK. We are unlikely to see many UK companies encouraging customers to switch in this way, as we are years behind on deploying next-generation LTE networks, mainly due to the lack of spectrum available to run this, which is hoped to become available through auction so services could go live in early 2014, although Europe is encouraging for services to be made available via other means sooner.