LONDON (Reuters) – British broadband provider TalkTalk Telecom Group said on Monday it had signed an agreement to use Telefonica’s O2 network to provide mobile phone services to its customers, including for the first time 4G mobile broadband.
The company’s previous partner as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) was Vodafone, for a service that had 348,000 customers at the end of September, some 9.5 per cent of TalkTalk’s broadband base.
Chief Executive Dido Harding said the new deal included 4G coverage, and in the longer term a combination of the O2 network with “femtocell” technology deployed by TalkTalk to give cheaper mobile coverage within customers’ homes.
“It gives us strong commercial terms to accelerate the growth of our mobile business and it gives us access to 4G going forward,” she said.
TalkTalk, along with rivals BT and Virgin Media, is offering a bundle of fixed-line, broadband, TV and mobile services to boost revenue and improve customer loyalty.
Mobile operators are moving onto the same territory from the opposite direction, with Vodafone saying last week it would launch home broadband and TV.
Meanwhile broadband market leader BT is preparing for a bigger push into mobile services next year, creating a hybrid network made up of 4G radio spectrum which it already owns, EE’s network under an MVNO deal, and wireless links inside and outside customers’ homes to offload mobile traffic onto its fixed line network.