Vodafone boxes clever to take on fixed line rivals

25 Oct 2005

Vodafone Germany has launched ‘Talk&Web’, a ‘communications box’ that allows residential users to make voice calls, receive faxes and access the internet over its 3G wireless network. The long-awaited product is designed to complement Vodafone’s ‘At Home’ service, which offers consumers a flat-rate voice subscription for EUR49.95 per month and a 384kbps internet connection. To use the service, subscribers plug the box into a household electricity socket and attach their own phone handsets, computers and fax machines. The Talk&Web box, manufactured by US-based Novatel Wireless, is available for a one-off price of EUR99.90, a big drop compared to earlier announcements that the likely price would be around EUR500. With the new launch, the German operator is aiming to encourage customers to cancel fixed line services provided by incumbent telco Deutsche Telekom and other rivals including its own wireline unit Arcor. Vodafone has revealed plans to sell Arcor, potentially by the end of next year.