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TalkTalk in BT Vision Premiership spoiler

U-turn offers free footy for TalkTalk punters

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Carphone Warehouse has tapped sports broadcasting upstart Setanta in an attempt to kybosh BT's big Premiership football push for its Vision IPTV service.

Throughout August, new and existing TalkTalk broadband customers are offered a free Freeview box with two months' free Setanta subscription, after which it costs £9.99 per month on an 18-month contract. The Irish broadcaster has rights to 46 live English Premiership, and 60 Scottish Premier League matches this season.

Until now, Carphone Warehouse has pooh-poohed other broadband providers' charge into TV. This is the first time it has become embroiled in content delivery, and a spokesman did not rule out more deals in future.

BT is setting the pace among the big three ISPs, retaking the subscriber lead from Virgin and beating the drum for providing services on top of the basic broadband line, in contrast to Carphone's bargain basement "free" strategy. It has begun a big football-based marketing push for Vision, in the knowledge that rights to Premiership football played a big part in the eventual success of satellite broadcasting.

As well as the same £9.99 Setanta package as TalkTalk, BT's standard £4 per month Vision Sports package includes 242 "near live" Premiership games (or £1.99 a pop on pay-per-view). BT's current TV advertising campaign for Vision Sports again features that boss-eyed stringbean off My Family and his very modern domestic setup.

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