Vodafone has made steady progress in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania since completing the acquisition of Liberty Global’s UPC assets in July 2019.
In the Czech Republic, for instance, the company launched a local version of Vodafone TV in March last year that offered its customers over 130 TV channels in three packages plus a range of additional features. Five months later it became the first operator in the country to enter into a partnership with Netflix. At around the same time it launched a 1 Gbps broadband service that reached 1.3 million households and paved the way for the introduction of 4K TV content to its offer in October.
Meanwhile in Hungary, it was reported as far back as October 2019 that the company planned to launch Vodafone TV in the country “in the near future”. It eventually did so last year and in September 2020, like Vodafone in the Czech Republic, also became the first Hungarian telco to add Netflix to its portfolio.
Vodafone was also one of three companies in Hungary to be awarded 5G licences in April 2020. This allowed it to build on the progress it had earlier made in launching a commercial 5G service in central Budapest in 2019 and it continued to expand its network around the country last year despite the negative effects of the pandemic.
In Romania, Vodafone’s highlight of 2020 was undoubtedly the launch of Vodafone TV and new converged fixed-mobile offers under the Vodafone One brand in September. Two months later, Netflix was integrated into its Vodafone TV service.
Yet despite this progress, Vodafone has seen little uptake in TV subscriber numbers in the three markets. Its most recently published results, for Q2 20/21, in fact show that it actually lost 5,000 in its ‘Other Europe’ operations, which include Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, in the quarter. However, its converged customer total rose by 12,000 in the same period.
Clearly the company is operating in three highly competitive markets and this will undoubtedly continue for the foreseeable future.
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