UPC - the brand that includes Chorus/NTL - may launch a mobile phone package this year
Cable company Chorus/NTL is in the early stages of a planned entry into the mobile phone market in Ireland. The company’s chief executive Robert Dunn said they were still at an “explorative stage” but he saw it as an important market for the company to have a presence in.
Mr Dunn also indicated that any launch would be as a mobile virtual network operator and not through the acquisition of an existing network.
Chorus/NTL – which is owned by Liberty Global International – already offers television, home broadband and phone services and has made a renewed push in recent weeks to compete with the likes of Sky.
If it wished to create a mobile virtual network operator, the company would need to enter an agreement with one of the four main mobile operators and “piggy-back” on its network, in the way that Tesco Mobile has done on the O2 network. Doing so would create the State’s first “quad-play” company, where four services are bundled together under one brand.
Other Liberty Global subsidiaries in Europe already offer quad-play packages to customers, as does British cable company Virgin Media. In Ireland, some mobile and home phone companies are also moving towards quad-play by offering TV services of their own.
O2 and Vodafone both recently launched services that allows users to watch TV on their phones for a regular fee, while Eircom is the main shareholder in the One Vision consortium which holds the digital terrestrial television licence, which may be used to complement its home and mobile offerings.
This article originally appeared in The Irish Times, 22nd Jan. 2010.