Vodafone Australia has announced that it will be entering the National Broadband Network (NBN) market as a retail service provider before the end of 2017.
The decision to enter the fixed-line broadband market, announced by Vodafone Australia CEO Inaki Berroeta at the Charles Todd Oration in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon, was in response to strong customer demand from both consumers and enterprise.
"I'm very pleased to announce today that Vodafone will be enhancing the service we offer to customers with fixed broadband home and business products through the NBN," Berroeta said.
"There has been a lot of speculation about if, when, and how Vodafone will enter the Australian fixed market, and the speculation can end today.
"It's no secret that Australian consumers love data. The NBN will allow us to complement our mobile network by seamlessly connecting our customers at home, work, and in between."
Berroeta said Vodafone will not reveal its plans and pricing yet, but said the telecommunications provider is entering the NBN market now that the rollout is gathering "momentum" and seeing increasing demand from customers.
"I will not go into the details today as to exactly when and how, but I will say this -- that we are the cornerstone of competition in mobile, and we intend to be in fixed broadband as well."
The chief executive added that the industry should not be so focused on the network technologies being used to connect customers; rather, that it will bring ubiquitous high-speed broadband to all Australians.
"So much of the NBN policy debate has been consumed by arguments about the precise technology mix: Fibre to the node, fibre to the home, fibre to the driveway. What's next? Fibre to the mailbox? Fibre to the front door? Fibre to the couch?
"Australian consumers and businesses don't care. They just want fast-speed internet that works."
Instead, Berroeta said industry should focus on three main areas: Ensuring there are incentives for telecommunications infrastructure to be upgraded and enhanced continually; ensuring there is "infrastructure parity" across Australia; and promoting a level playing field for all market players.
These three focus areas stem from Vodafone's continued arguments in favour of wholesale domestic roaming being declared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Berroeta also used Wednesday's speech to address what he called the three "pressing" issues in the telecommunications industry: Domestic roaming, spectrum allocation, and the Universal Service Obligation (USO).