Mobile phone operator Vodafone has announced today that it is to enter the UK's competitive fixed-line broadband market after signing a deal with the wholesale arm of telecoms giant BT.
In a statement, the company said that it hoped to launch the new Vodafone-branded service by the end of the year.
It said the move would allow Vodafone customers to benefit from bundled packages of mobile and broadband services nationwide.
Announcing the deal, Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Read described the agreement as a "strategically important step in the evolution of Vodafone's business".
"Choosing BT as our partner enables us to provide high quality fixed-line broadband services to customers quickly and cost-efficiently right across the UK and this perfectly complements our national mobile coverage and mobile broadband service," Mr Read added.
BT Wholesale chief executive Paul Reynolds said the deal with Vodafone was "an excellent example of how BT's range of capabilities in communications can be deployed, in partnership with our wholesale customers, to enable them to bring choice, quality and value to their customers in the competitive, converging world of the 21st century".
Vodafone is the latest mobile phone operator to offer a bundled broadband package to its customers in an increasingly competitive market.
Carphone Warehouse and BSkyB have both announced cut-price broadband packages.
However, market competition is intense, with the UK's second-largest telecoms group, Cable & Wireless forced to leave the retail broadband market recently after proving unable to compete effectively with rivals.