Vodafone’s long-awaited entry into the Romanian TV market finally happened at the beginning of this month.
It’s hard to believe that the company was considering the move as far back as March 2010. Then, along with Orange, it was trying to gain access to Romtelecom’s (now Telekom Romania’s) infrastructure in order to launch an IPTV service.
While Orange then went on to launch a DTH platform and become a key player in the TV market, Vodafone seemed to hold back. However, only two years ago, Vittorio Colao, the company’s CEO, revealed that it was looking at various options, including an acquisition or merger.
More recently, Ravinder Takker, the Vodafone Romania CEO, said this May that the company had no plans to launch a DTH platform in the country. This was wholly understandable, given the saturated nature of a market dominated by RCS&RDS, Telekom Romania and UPC.
On the other hand, Takker refused to rule out the possibility of launching TV services accessible via a mobile app. Two months later, the company started to trial a 4G TV app and now, following the launch of a 4G internet service (‘Supernet 4G’) offering download speeds of over 1Gbps, it has given a debut to 4GTV+.
This gives access to a wide range of TV channels, both local and international, as well as 36 million music titles from Zonga plus such features as multiscreen and 72-hour catch-up.
Alongside 4GTV+, Vodafone has entered into a partnership with Netflix in Romania. This is particularly important as it not only makes the new service’s content more attractive but also strengthens cooperation between the two companies still further.
The real question is if the agreement will pave the way for a localised version of Netflix in Romania. The company recently took this step in Poland and Turkey and it would undoubtedly improve its prospects in what is a highly competitive market.