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Dunstone talks up TalkTalk TV

Tiscali legacy gives aspiring quad-player a blank Canvas

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Charles Dunstone, CEO of Carphone Warehouse, hasn't given up on the dream of being a quad-player, after revealing plans to launch TV and mobile TalkTalk services.

The details came during a call following up on announced plans to split Carphone Warehouse into two companies - TalkTalk and New Carphone Warehouse, as reported by the Financial Times. TalkTalk will launch a Canvas-based TV service, and look to become an MVNO, over then next year or two.

The TV service comes as no surprise - Carphone Warehouse inherited a successful TV service when it bought Tiscali, and, after leaving staff in suspense for a week or two, decided to invest in the service with a view to becoming a TV provider.

TalkTalk has a lot more unbundled exchanges than Tiscali ever had, which opens up a whole lot more potential customers for the TV service - only unbundled exchanges can offer the guaranteed quality of service necessary for streamed TV. Just to emphasis that commitment, TalkTalk has signed up to Project Canvas - the standard streamed-TV platform - with promises of a rapid migration.

Launching a Mobile Virtual Network Operator is also no great surprise. Buying network capacity in bulk and reselling under your own brand works well if your brand is big enough to negotiate hard with the network operators. Virgin and Tesco have very successful MVNOs, but it would have been difficult for Carphone Warehouse to have operated an MVNO while claiming to be independent and selling contracts on the other networks. This problem would disappear with the forthcoming division.

These offerings will make TalkTalk into a "quad player" - offering fixed and mobile telephony as well as TV and broadband. It is what one needs to be these days to be taken seriously as a provider of consumer services. ®

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