UK-headquartered Vodafone is reported to be in discussions with movie-streaming player Netflix about a tie-up that would allow the operator’s customers to watch films and TV shows on smartphones as part of their monthly tariff.
According to Bloomberg, the arrangement would allow customers to stream content without paying a separate fee to Netflix (Scotts Valley, CA, USA) for a set period of time.
The UK’s Telegraph newspaper says Netflix hopes the deal will help it to sign up customers in the UK and win business in new markets like Germany, where Vodafone (Newbury, UK) operates the country’s second-biggest mobile network on the basis of service revenues.
Vodafone, meanwhile, would see a tie-up with Netflix as a way of bolstering interest in its high-speed 4G service, which faces tough competition from market leader EE (Hatfield, UK) – which has been operating its 4G services since late 2012 – as well as Telefonica (Slough, UK) and Three (Maidenhead, UK), both of which launched 4G in the second half of 2013.
In that respect, the partnership would closely resemble deals Vodafone has already struck with Sky Sports (London, UK) and Spotify (Stockholm, Sweden), allowing customers to access content under their 4G tariffs.
Sources cited by the Telegraph say a service could be launched within the next few months, although both Vodafone and Netflix declined to comment on the speculation to Bloomberg.
Netflix already has similar deals in place in the US market with Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA) and T-Mobile USA (Bellevue, WA, USA), the country’s third- and fourth-biggest operators, and also with cable operator Virgin Media (Hook, UK) in the UK.
Vodafone would clearly hold an attraction for the company, however, because of its operations throughout Europe.
The operator has a relatively strong presence in the markets of Italy, Spain and Turkey, besides Germany and the UK.