PCCW-owned UK Broadband has launched a mobile and fixed broadband service pitched at young professionals, startups and SMEs who are based in Central London.
The new service, which is called Relish, offers Wi-Fi coverage in the home or office combined with access to the operator’s TD-LTE infrastructure. The fixed services are available via routers while mobile broadband comes through a dongle. All devices are made by Huawei.
The operator promises average speeds of 30 Mb/s.
“There is not enough choice for how users buy broadband. I am not suggesting all of London will want our service but it will appeal to a segment of the market”,” said CEO Nicholas James (pictured).
The demographic that interests UK Broadband is young professionals living in the centre of the city (they move a lot and can take their Relish router with them), as well as start-ups (who similarly move premises fairly regularly) and those SMEs which are the victims of patchy coverage.
“London has some of the fastest speeds but also some of the slowest,” said James.
The potential market is 1 million to 1.5 million users. “If we get a reasonable percentage of that then we have a nice little business,” he said.
Outside central London, subscribers to the mobile broadband package will roam onto Three’s 3G network.
The potential victims of the new service is fixed broadband providers. UK Broadband believes the bundling of a voice landline in broadband packages is unattractive to a significant number of users. It produced statistics for how many users make little or no use of fixed voice services that are included in their subscriptions.
The volume of voice calls has dropped but the landline subscriptions have stayed static, indicating a lack of competition, the company said.
The operator will subsume existing subscribers of its Now Broadband service, which launched in 2012, into the Relish service.
The home broadband option costs £20 a month with a 30-day notice period. The router costs £50. The mobile broadband service costs £10 a month, although only a £5 monthly charge for those with the home broadband package. The cost of the dongle for the mobile broadband service varies depending on package – it’s free for the high-end deals but otherwise costs £35. Users can connect up to ten devices via the dongle.
The company said it was not necessary to subside the cost of the router. James said there were six other countries where the same router offering TD-LTE in the 3.5 GHz frequency band was already on sale.