Vodafone is allegedly preparing a 'soft' launch of its pay-to-view TV service next month, according to industry insiders. The set-top box will be issued to Vodafone staff and existing customers during the 'soft' launch; they will help iron out bugs before a full-scale launch takes place in 2017.
The company first planned to launch the TV service in November last year; however, it was pushed back to July this year where the company confirmed trials were under way. The firm's set-top box will be based on technology developed in Israel by a company called Kaltura. The service will largely be focused on internet streaming and on-demand services.
One of the reasons for the delays could be that Vodafone is having trouble striking a deal with BT for access to BT Sport. Vodafone already has a deal in place for Sky's Now TV streaming service on smartphones, which will allow its eventual pay-TV customers to have access to live football on their set-top boxes too, according to the Telegraph.
By offering a set-top box, the company wants to go up against the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media, all of which offer broadband, phone, TV and mobile services. Even after Vodafone rolls out its set-top box it will still be disadvantaged as it will, initially, offer no exclusive programming in what is deemed a crowded market.