Vodafone expands NBN rollout; launches Vodafone TV

Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Tasmania will gain access to Vodafone Australia's NBN offerings, with the telco also launching a smart TV box running on Android TV.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Senior Reporter on

The Vodafone TV

(Image: Vodafone)

Vodafone Australia has announced that it is expanding its National Broadband Network (NBN) services to five more areas by April, in addition to unveiling its new NBN pricing plans.

"We are now announcing today that we are rolling out to new capital cities. So we're rolling out to Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, and Tasmania," Vodafone GM of Fixed Matthew Lobb told media in Sydney, with Vodafone adding that the Gold Coast will also gain access to the service.

This marks an almost doubling of its original NBN footprint, the telco said; Vodafone launched NBN services in December last year, initially only providing the service to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong, and Newcastle.

Vodafone's new NBN plans will be priced at AU$59 for the 12/1Mbps speed tier; AU$79 for the 50/20Mbps tier; and AU$99 for the 100/40Mbps tier, with all plans including unlimited data.

Vodafone has also announced a push into entertainment by launching both a smart TV box and a Netflix partnership, the second of which will be included as a one-year subscription in the two top-tier NBN plans.

Vodafone TV is powered by Android TV, but was made specifically for Vodafone's customisations, with 4K HD resolution, Netflix and YouTube access, Google voice search, a free-to-air (FTA) tuner, dual-band Wi-Fi, and access to the Google Play Store's apps and games.

It costs AU$120 upfront, or can be paid off by post-paid customers for AU$5 per month for 24 months.

Vodafone TV will be launched around mid-April, Vodafone Consumer Business Unit director Ben McIntosh told ZDNet, with the Netflix subscription inclusion starting on Wednesday.

Vodafone won't be buying rights to content or making its own, because it believes in the "content democratisation", McIntosh added -- which means the smart TV box is also available to non-Vodafone customers.

"We believe that customers or Australians should be able to choose what content they want, when they want to watch it, and how they want to watch it," he said.

"The days of choosing the content based on what your telco has or choosing your telco based on what you want to watch, as far as we're concerned, is over. That is a legacy way of doing it.

"The big boys have had it far too good for far too long. We strongly believe in partnering with the world's biggest organisations to bring content democratisation to Australia."

McIntosh's comments follow rival carrier Optus entering the media content rights battle by securing the rights to the English Premier League in 2015, and entering a partnership with National Geographic last year that could include Optus-created content.

Optus launched its Fetch smart TV box in 2016, after incumbent telco Telstra launched the Telstra TV at the end of 2015.

Telstra then launched the second iteration of its Telstra TV media streaming box in October last year. Costing AU$192 outright, it includes an FTA tuner; high-efficiency video codec (HEVC) support; a quad-core MStar processor; 2GB of DRAM; 512MB of additional storage; 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi support; 2160p 4K UHD with HDR support; and HDMI 2.0.

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