Niel adds a pinch of Salt to broadband market with signature strategy

21 Mar 2018

Swiss mobile provider Salt has announced its entry into the fixed broadband market with the launch of an aggressively-priced triple-play bundle, undercutting its competitors by a substantial margin. The offering comprises a VoIP line with unlimited domestic calls to fixed and mobile lines within Switzerland and a 10Gbps broadband connection, which the operator claims is a first for the county and was made possible by the development of its new ‘Fiber Box’ router: the box boasts four 1Gbps Ethernet ports and one 10Gbps port, as well as ‘the most advanced WLAN (Wi-Fi) technology based on dual-band 2.5GHz and 5GHz and multiple antenna (MIMO 4X4) … which can reach an astonishing 2.2Gbps.’ The bundle also includes a 4K Apple TV and two TV applications, Salt TV for live television and Salt Video for the operator’s VoD library. The multimedia package features more than 300 channels – 150 in HD and several in 4K – in several different languages, as well as content from Canal+ and Sky. Salt is offering the bundle for CHF49.95 (USD52.4) per month, or CHF39.95 for subscribers to its mobile services: by comparison, equivalent plans from Sunrise, UPC and Swisscom cost between CHF139 and CHF160 per month.

In terms of infrastructure and coverage, Salt is offering the service via a partnership with Swiss Fiber Network (SFN), which operates fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in more than 30 cities nationwide, although Salt notes that further geographical extensions are planned in the coming months and years.

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Salt was taken over by French billionaire Xavier Niel’s NJJ Capital in December 2014 – just two years after France’s Orange Group had sold the company to private equity firm Apax Partners – and the dramatic entry into the fixed market echoes the strategy used by Niel’s Free Mobile in France. Upon its commercial launch in 2012, and then with the introduction of LTE in December 2013, Free undercut its more established rivals with cheaper plans, stirring up the market and allowing it to garner a much larger share of the sector than previously anticipated.

In another Swiss development, meanwhile, Broadband TV News reports that the UK’s Liberty Global is in early talks with Swiss full-service provider Sunrise regarding a potential tie up between the telco and Liberty’s local cableco, UPC Switzerland.

Switzerland, Salt (Switzerland), Sunrise (formerly Sunrise UPC), Sunrise Communications, Swisscom