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Carphone mum on 'free broadband' speculation

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Execs at the Carphone Warehouse are said to be mulling the idea of offering broadband for free as part of a bundled phone package.

The retailer-cum-telco is expected to release details of its broadband strategy shortly following confirmation earlier this year that it plans to press ahead with plans to invest £45m in local loop unbundling.

Following its acquisition of OneTel and the UK and Ireland business on Tele2, Carphone has some 2.4m punters and is keen to make an impact in the phone and broadband market.

An announcement about its broadband strategy was due to be made in March although there is speculation now that this will slip to April. According to trade mag Mobile, Carphone is due to unveil details of its broadband service on April 11 ahead of a summer launch backed by a massive ad campaign.

As part of its bid to shake-up the market, the firm is mulling the idea of giving broadband away for free to its TalkTalk punters, reports the paper citing sources close to Carphone, or making free calls available to broadband subscribers.

Either way, the report claims that Carphone's announcement is "expected to send shockwaves through the broadband market".

A spokeswoman for Carphone declined to comment on what she described as "speculation" and wouldn't even be drawn on when an announcement would be made.

However, industry insiders have told El Reg that they remain sceptical about any "free broadband" give-away because the numbers just don't add up. If Carphone did launch a free broadband service then it would most likely be a short-term gimmick, they said. ®

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