TalkTalk is to launch mobile broadband and mobile phone services, following a landmark deal with Vodafone.
The broadband provider plans to bring dongle deals and mobile phone contract tariffs to its portfolio of services from autumn this year. These will be available in pre-pay and contract options.
Its move into new sectors follows the conclusion of a Mobile Virtual Network Operation agreement (MVNO) which will allow TalkTalk to use Vodafone’s 3G network.
The addition of mobile broadband and mobile phone to TalkTalk’s suite of services will position it as one of the UK’s few quad play broadband providers and place it in direct competition with the likes of Virgin Media.
Currently, TalkTalk only offers customers home broadband and home phone product, with an offering focused on cheap calls and fast connections of up to 24Mb from £6.99 per month.
Speculation that TalkTalk harboured plans of expanding its product range has been mounting for months, as it looks to build on its status as the UK’s largest fixed line broadband supplier by customer numbers.
Charles Dunstone, Chairman of TalkTalk Group, said: "Over the last five years, TalkTalk Group has invested over £1 billion to transform the UK broadband and voice market into one of the most vibrant and good value in the world.
“Our customers tell us that they expect the same value from their mobile services that they've come to expect from their home phone and broadband, so that's what we intend to provide.“
He added: “We've chosen Vodafone as our network partner as they have a proven network and a track record of success with their MVNOs."
News of developments comes as TalkTalk confirmed it added 34,000 new, net broadband customers during the first quarter to bring its total customer base to 4.231 million. Revenue from the broadband facet of the business was also up year on year, rising to £301 million.
The growth has been attributed partly to the strong consumer appeal of Boosts – optional add-ons offering everything from cut price calls to enhanced security - which enable customers to tailor their internet and phone services to meet their needs.
Also deemed a factor was the growing popularity of its Plus broadband and home phone product, which now accounts for ten per cent of its sales, as well as greater brand awareness fostered by a prime time TV sponsorship deal with The X Factor.
TalkTalk has run a series of limited period, cut-price offers in recent months. Currently, all consumers who sign up for its Value or Plus broadband and landline deals get a free connection worth £29.99 and a free wireless router.
The promotion runs until the end of July and applies only for new customers who sign up online.
Commenting on the first-quarter showing, Mr Dunstone said it represented a “very solid performance”, which validates its core strategy of “straight-forward, value for money broadband and voice services’.
Four years ago, TalkTalk was the first UK teleco to introduce free internet tariffs – a move that regarded as transforming the domestic broadband market and as integral to the subsequent spread of faster broadband throughout the UK.