Embattled mobile carrier, Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), wants to sell NBN Co Internet to end-user customers at the first five mainland trial sites, according to its CEO, Nigel Dews.
Speaking to media and analysts at a financial results call, Dews said participating in the trial to sell fixed-line Internet supplied by the Government’s National Broadband Network was its second biggest NBN-related priority for 2011.
He said the company planned to have trials in the second half of the year, pending final approval from NBN Co.
“We’re working constructively with them and hope to be part of those trials,” he said. “It’ll be a meaningful subset [of the five mainland sites].
“The trials are about us learning how to do it, how to work with them with technical interconnections and what kind of offers will work well…and how this kind of space could be relevant to us in the future.”
The trials could represent the first step in a major diversification for the traditionally wireless telco. While Dews said the company would not commercially sell fixed-line Internet in 2011, he mooted a potential move in 2012 and beyond.
“We’ll see… we think it’s important to be part of these trials to understand this space better,” he said. “There are lots of good reasons on paper in terms of complementarity of fixed broadband and mobile broadband offers and issues around ubiquitous coverage.
“We think being part of this trial… is a critical input for us to decide in the longer term whether we should be part of this.”
ARN revealed all five mainland first release sites were set to be activated by the end of April. The first five mainland sites with NBN Co rollouts are Armidale in NSW, Kiama in NSW, Willunga in SA, Townsville in QLD and Brunswick in Victoria.