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Vodafone has opted out of offering “free” broadband when it starts supplying high-speed internet access over landlines in January.

Rather than embarking on a “land grab” for broadband customers, Vodafone hopes its UK internet access service will safeguard its position as the biggest mobile operator by revenue market share in the UK.

Vodafone is hoping its £25 a month broadband deal, which also includes a fixed-line phone service, will increase the loyalty of its higher value mobile customers by providing them with more of their communications needs.

The fixed-line phone and broadband deal, called Vodafone At Home, will only be initially available to the company’s customers who have mobile contracts. Such contracts range between £20 and £75 a month.

02, the mobile operator with the biggest number of customers in the UK, is expected to take a similar “defensive” stance to Vodafone’s when it launches its broadband service in the spring. Both companies are offering broadband on the basis it could reduce the number of mobile customers who defect to rivals.

Their positions contrast with Carphone Warehouse and British Sky Broadcasting, which are seeking to recruit millions of broadband customers with their “free” internet packages.

Orange, another mobile operator, is offering “free” broadband to customers who sign up to mobile contracts worth £30 or more a month.

Vodafone’s fixed-line phone and broadband service has been made possible by it entering into an agreement with BT to use its network infrastructure.

Tim Yates, director of Vodafone’s UK consumer business unit, said: “By working with BT we will be providing a market leading mix of quality, value and service.” The way we’re packaging and delivering Vodafone At Home ensures our customers get the best experience when they buy broadband.

Vodafone hopes its customers will eventually get a single bill for their mobile, fixed line phone and broadband. However, customers will initially get seperate mobile and fixed line bills.

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